To acquire home statistics. Can you imagine the personal data gathering? And the $ value attached to that data?
All sweetened with sugar for you to buy the product, connect, and give your data for free.
Oh how I would love to be a fly on the wall and look at who exactly is pulling these strings.
Government? - Which ones
Private equity? - Which sticky hands
Other Countries? - Which ones & what would the data be worth to them?
This is why I disapprove of services such as: Google glass, Home automation data gathering, Car & transport data gathering.
I'm not an 'all-or-nothing' kind of guy, but sheesh....
And that 23andMe DNA gathering product: https://www.23andme.com/ It's like a totalitarian wet dream.
The analogy here is something like the OnStar system in recent cars. I don't think that many people who made it happen primarily did so to give the banks a way to find and repo cars, but once a large percentage of cars have this system it does enable banks to do it much more efficiently. Not to mention what the authorities can do with these same systems.
I can't help but feel that this is a funded attempt to subvert power away from OPEC nations: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OPEC
If so, could be to help these guys: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Sisters_(oil_companies)
It says in this article:http://ow.ly/syrfO
"Google is a widely-known proponent of “green” energy, promoting low-power data centres and clean grid-based power whenever possible."
Excluding "It is good for mankind & the Earth", Why is it important to 'reduce' in western nations, when so many developing/upcoming/industrial/manufacturing/oil nations are laughing at this policy?
Something's up. And it isn't share price. Sorry for my conspiracy feelings -My instinct tells me there will be comments about being overly-conspiratorial (If so, this will suggest my instincts are correct), but I'm more than worried about my children's children and their future.
For some reason in these Austere times, there's a squeeze going on which is being driven by more than you and I are presently being told.
If you are so afraid of data gathering it's pretty much impossible to do a lot of technologies. I can understand being against centralization and sending that data over a network to third parties. But even that is necessary in order to improve the product. You want your self driving car to have billions of hours of experience behind it, right?
Seriously? Lifestyle information is a gold mine for advertisers. If someone is diabetic, they need drugs, so I'm sure going to serve up more pharmaceutical ads (and those pay very well). If they're running the heater, they're almost certainly in the market for a jacket, blanket, or similar. Suddenly using "auto away" for stretches at a time? I bet they're traveling for work, and could use some luggage or a vacation to throw mileage points at.
Waay more profitable than just throwing random crap out there and seeing what sticks.
>Yeah, motorola products have completely gone down the toilet after that acquisition. They were so great before with fast updates and a wonderful skin of android, and now they're either non-innovative or way too overpriced for the value. /s
it would have saved http://imgur.com/2iha7bO
He could have told us why he doesn't like this, or give us an example of another company that was acquired by Google where the result was bad for consumers, then at least we could have had a discussion about this.
But this way it's only "I don't like this" vs "I like it" and there are definitely more interesting discussions with more information in this thread that could have been upvoted.
While I am not upset by this acquisition, I can certainly understand the sentiment.
I can't speak to validity of the top comment being only that aforementioned opinion, nor am I suggesting that sarcasm was inappropriate, but I think this only highlights the upvote/downvote mechanism as an I agree/disagree button more than a add to/ doesn't add to the discussion button.
You can see the list in wikipedia:
I can't feel that we'd be much better off if MS had decided to lose billions on YouTube along with Bing and Google had pressed ahead with Google Video as a legitimate competitor.
Could they get any worse? Seriously does any normal thinking person really participate and contribute comments in that quagmire? I sometimes I thank Google and Yahoo for creating those honey pots for the internet brain-dead to vent their steam and vitriol, keeping them well away from stuff I like to constructively participate in.
Coincidence? No clue... Still, all the "OMG G+ will destroy youtube!1!" whining is looking pretty stupid...
"OMG LOL your house is burning down."
comments, ads, channels, even the way the video buffers is annoying smfh
But what I'm unable to accept is why the client won't let me buffer a video and erases everything just as soon as it's diplayed on the screen. It does not make downloading the content any harder - all it does is making me download the videos, whatch them and delete, because the official player sucks.
I just don't want to see Google dominating the world. Competition is nice.
There are parallels to the Internet Explorer/Netscape issue. Google provided a free service to everyone, killing any good paid services/products (which didn't integrate with Google Reader), except instead of taking advantage of their monopoly they just threw it away.
Now you have companies like Reeder, with a sufficiently large user base, who have to not only scramble to provide their own backend (or integrate with someone else's), but also scale it to the appropriate number of users literally overnight, which is not necessarily an easy task for a company which has, so far, only needed to have client-side developers (which is why most client apps, like Reeder, moved to using some other company for their backend instead of writing their own).
There was certainly no malicious intent, but they basically crushed an entire market and then abandoned it.
Also, you'll be hard-pressed to find much upward pressure beyond free on this list: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_feed_aggregators
"except instead of taking advantage of their monopoly". Woww way to telegraph the fact that you completely misunderstood the Internet Explorer/Netscape issue. Parallels with IE/Netscape are meaningless if the monopoly _gets thrown away_.
Sounds like the case.
On consideration, I'm a big fan of Google, Apple and Amazon. The thing that makes me (and probably others) nervous about all three is that they are too big. For instance, a monopolist strategy (Microsoft style) might appear someday.
With specific regards to Foursquare: note that the founder left to do Foursquare, and they're floundering right now. Maybe the vision was never sound to begin with.
Oh, not Y! (although some have speculated that Mayer move was a reverse-acquisition)
Android would have gone nowhere without being acquired, since OEMs and carriers wouldn't talk to such a small company.
I immediately thought 'google will tie this into your google phone for you. That could be pretty nice.'
"Without a blatant display of humor, it is impossible to
create a parody of extremism or fundamentalism that
someone won't mistake for the real thing." 
(edit: Poe's Law always reminds me of this SNL skit where Fred Armisen tells Jimmy Fallon that the right way to tell a joke is to use a "catch phrase": http://video.tvguide.com/Saturday+Night+Live/Weekend+Update+...)
2) end your comment with '/s'
[most people know this means the previous comment was meant as sarcasm. it should be the preferred method of communicating sarcasm and the sentiment that the referenced recipient is obviously wrong]
My brother works in HVAC, and I've seen some of the automation available - - the trouble is that the systems aren't intuitive to the user and do very little to think on their own outside of if statements from the sensors.
For technically-inclined individuals, understanding how water, air and gas move is the ticket to a proper disruption. This goes beyond the bandaid fix of a good, intuitive thermostat, and into the circulation of fresh air and overall design of the home.
I will say though, that smoke detector is awesome. Here's hoping that Google doesn't just shut down the good work that's been done.
"Steve is out of the house" shared publicly on google plus.
In this case, there were only a few investment rounds, all of which were reported to be big 'up' rounds, and the (huge) deal was reported to be all cash. All of which suggests that at least the co-founders, and probably at least several others, are going to be very very rich on day one working at Google. Which in turn is not a circumstance very conducive to effective golden handcuffs.
Google is a very big company. I think they are already 50,000 employees in strength. A company so big is not very good at this 'inventing' stuff. There are likely a few engineering oasis somewhere in Google, but the bulk of the company is your ordinary mid level managers, controlling people at grass roots. Their likely goal is to cripple innovation with full force to prevent engineers from looking smart. Add all kinds of pointless bureaucracy.
Spending $3.2B in such ventures in such set ups only leads to a heavily delayed project. Clueless MBA's turned project/product managers enforcing their brain dead ideas in technology areas. Other managers venturing into gold digging, lazy people being elevated as abstract thought leaders etc.
Its best to just to buy something from outside and give them autonomy.
I see why you'd see one trying to control the other and being rejected as a failure, but I actually felt relieved that nastiness hasn't be rewarded now, hoping they'll pay soon (and not so surprised by SnapChat's arrogance).
Here you really need a good analytics engine that combines measurements of quadrillion sensors; (actually my gripe is that all these sensors and the networking that connects them also needs some electricity, so where are the savings?)
I guess google is a big public company that has to produce constant growth figures for the stock market, they see the limits that can be squeezed out of adds, so they are looking for different markets; in corporate speak you would say 'leveraging core competences into the utilities market'
You can see this diversification in other areas: once upon a time a lot of people thought that Android is about creating demand for adds, nowadays Motorola is actually supposed to sell phones.
It seems like tech (maybe all) acquisitions almost always favor the buyer and not the consumer.
Does anybody have any good examples?
- Keyhole (now Google Maps)
- Android Inc.
- Motorola Mobility
- GrandCentral (now Google Voice)
In general, an acquired company initially became successful by bringing value to consumers. When that company is acquired, it gets more resources to bring more value to customers.
We'll see if Google tries to wholly replace it with hangouts. I wouldn't be mad unless it were missing features.
And not in a hacked "if you're with TMo/Sprint, you -might- be able to get an email with the MMS in a format that's not reply-able" (and even that, only recently).
Voice might be dead as a brand; Google's unification of communications trend might mean that the technology and functionality will eventually be merged into Hangouts.
Pixar is still making (some) good movies under Disney.
I'm sure there are more examples.
I agree w/ Pixar to some extent, but it seems they have seen a slight decline in quality recently (Cars 2, Monsters University, Brave). I think particularly, they may be looking for more opportunities to exploit previous franchises vs. making quality films. Cars 2 was the best example of this, as was evident by the mounds of merchandise on store shelves following the release.
Again, both of these are debatable, but I still don't think you can say in either case that the acquisition was favorable to the consumer.
Pixar movie quality seems to have dropped, while Disney's have gone up after the acquisition.
Cars 2 was clearly a release for money (they make more money of Cars merchandise than they do from films), but the other films?
Also, I'm really enjoying the increase in quality of Disney movies post-Pixar. Just saw Frozen last week and loved it.
The gap between expectations & execution on android is tremendous. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7053108
The comparison is between "what Android could be as an independent company" and "what Android is under Google".
I think ultimately Android is doing a lot better for a lot more people than it would have had it remained independent. I'm also having a hard time imagining anyone else that could've acquired them and achieved substantially better results (see: Microsoft's handling of the Danger acquisition).
But then again: the dozen other examples cited above are certainly better.
If, on the other hand, you're a fan of the Google ecosystem I would expect that it will be a nice tie-in and a great acquisition for them. If they could add something along the lines of Belkin's WeMo devices and maybe Dropcam they could put together a nice home automation dashboard suite.
They're going to need to honor the legacy of Nest's design, though. No one is going to spend that kind of money and settle for an ad-ridden attempt to coerce you to use Google+.
Will Nest customer data be shared with Google?
is it just me or is that a non denial?
Is it ever. The new owners of Nest can just roll out updates to every Nest app that require an agreement to a new TOS. I expect to see it within 18 months.
Shame too, I was already on the fence about buying a Nest, I guess I've got a new microcontroler project to work on.
They could merge Nest Labs, Inc. into another Google company, letting the surviving company use the information. The press release does not disclose the acquisition structure but their statements suggest the company will survive as a separate entity.
And if the NSA can target a huge company like Google, I bet Nest was child's play to infiltrate.
It's another thing to feel insecure knowing that people know when your home is unoccupied. Just wait until the next big data breach happens.
It's especially interesting b/c not only is this a "when are they not home" detector, but the "they" is an indicator for "wealthy enough to afford nice things."
Those kinds of situations are the driving force of many thin a: warheads & bunkers and safes & crackers quickly come to mind.
GOOG's MSFTian sprawl may be what ends up killing them. This would have been a great fit for Apple ages ago when they could have bought it for cheap, especially given the ex-Apple guys and the Store placement. I guess at these lofty prices they can build better from scratch.
As for the product? Google's Reader product comes to mind.
But I'm human, and I was a heavy Reader user. That particular debacle -- along with the NSA revelations of last year -- have affected my perception of the company in a negative manner.
You could get the same benefit from a device for $30 of electronics. It's an overpriced gimmick to justify another selling off of your personal data forever in exchange for nothing but some minor convenience. The price doesn't justify the energy savings or by product manufacturing cost. If Google wants to know how much energy I'm using, they can buy the information from the utilities and subsidize my electric forever. I'm not paying to give it to them.
Which would be a lot more than $250 lost, and not a trade I'd be willing to make considering I value my free time with the family a lot more than that.
For me this whole thing misses the point though. Saving money is a sort of minimum expectation. The thing that Nest delivers that the competitors don't is ease of use. The previous 3M and Honeywell thermostats I owned before were not cheap, but their displays were terrible and their UX was the stuff of nightmares.
It took me probably 10 minutes to setup the Nest by comparison and maintenance has been mostly hands-off. It'll tweak the schedule here and there as necessary.
THAT is the value proposition. To throw out the Indiglo monstrosities before it that were inevitably running on some awful schedule because they were too much trouble and came with 50 page instruction manuals in 5 different languages.
I don't have time for that.
So to me, that's why Nest is successful. It might also explain why their smoke detectors are meh to me. Having a nice UX for something I don't actually need to interface with beyond tapping the occasional "ignore" button just isn't very much of a motivation to spend $100.
Just wondering - is there a problem with different languages?
The value proposition is that $200 and letting Google extract value from your life by way of energy prices will somehow pay for the fractional energy saved when the device realizes that you work on weekdays.
Honestly, I'm having a lot of trouble following what you're trying to say.
Now you're talking about unauthorized data use and Google manipulating energy prices? I guess?
I don't. But your circumstances may be different if you work for $1/day.
For example, this one does everything I need and costs 10% of a nest: http://amzn.com/B002RL9BIM
It actually has a backlight which is a step up from what I have today. It's just not important to me. Definitely not $250 important.
I could definitely use a smarter thermostat, but my vision of the future is a wireless dumb thermostat paired to a home PC that is connected to other sensors. While those dumb devices could be made to interoperate with a cloud service (this is probably where Google is playing), I'd rather keep that control in-house (haha).
Imagine you just, like me, bought your dream house. In the den you installed new hardware floors and custom builtin bookshelves, that you built yourself in a few hundred hours, using a gorgeous hardwood and a stain you picked after testing more than a dozen shades.
Which thermostat goes on the wall, about 15 inches from the bookselves. That POS or a Nest?
I don't care how it looks above some minimum bar, as long as it works, and works reliably.
(There's a caveat there - in a large home I assume you run into issues with uneven heating. But that's beyond the purview of a simple thermostat. Even a $250 one.)
It's not that ugly, but more important, it's white and not shiny. If I was looking for a thermostat for a completely decorated house, that's exactly the thing I'd look for (unless the walls were colored, in that case I'd get somebody to paint it). The one thing I wouldn't want people to look at in my house is the thermostat (and that's quite a thing for me to say, because my house has even decorative power outlets).
Somebody with a great sense of aestetics may be able to place a shinny thermostat in a way that it looks nice. That's not for 99% of us, and few people do hire the other 1% for helping them.
But, anyway, I'm here just for the fun, because I'm certainly not looking for a thermostat.
… in theory but there's no evidence that most people actually see those benefits:
I was going to say that you should start a company to produce that competitive $30 thermostat but then you confirmed that you have no idea what you're talking about:
> The price doesn't justify the energy savings or by product manufacturing cost
This might be true if you live in San Diego but in much of the country people pay many hundreds of dollars every month during the winter or summer. If a smarter thermostat saves 10% of that, it pays for itself in less than a year.
Not mathematically / thermodynamically possible, sorry. I live in a cooler area but not the real cold areas up north. During the recent polar vortex, which momentarily was centered over my house (and I'm not kidding) we got down to -15. (70 - -15) = delta t of 85 degrees. Lets say the magic machine dropped the temp by 5 degrees during the entire event 24x7 to save me energy. Why I'd pay $300 to simply permanently turn a thermostat down and leave it down is a mystery, but stick with me. That would mean a theoretical delta T of a "mere" 80 degrees. That means a maximum theoretical energy savings of (1-80/85)100 = 5%. Not 10%. No, I'm not setting my thermostat back 24x7. No, I don't live in a cold area like the folks up north where it was -30, in fact right now its somewhat above freezing outside. I just don't see it mathematically.
True, the weather is not always that bad. Right now its about 35. So 70-35 = 35 degree delta T, and dropping 5 degrees temporarily when unoccupied could save as much as (1-30/35)100 = 14 % if the weather was like this all the time and my house was perma-unoccupied. However, out of 168 hours in a week, my house is unoccupied for 18 hours. The rest of the time is filled by work at home, strange overlapping shifts, etc. So my house can only set back 10% of the time, so I only get 10% of the theoretical maximum savings, or a whopping .... 1%.
Unfortunately my heating bills over a very long term only average maybe $100/month, which I'm sure sounds insane to coasties, but we like it, keeps the riff raff away. So I can save about $1/month or $12/year. At $300 retail, it'll pay for itself by 2039.
Even worse, most will be purchased using a 30% interest rate credit card, making payback time infinite. The 30% interest on the credit card to pay for the $300 thermostat would be $90/year but I'm only saving at best $12/year. Whoops.
I would come out ahead both in comfort and financially by purchasing a kerosene heater and $300 of kerosene. Or better yet, even more insulation, or newer windows or whatever.
The final killer problem is I intentionally don't live in a McMansion so I can have a better lifestyle, such as not shivering in the winter. I've already decided to own a 25% smaller house to save 25% on my heating bills, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in saving 10% on my bill by shivering. I'm not paying thousands of dollars a month to shiver in a house when I could be warm and toasty in a hundreds of dollars a month apartment. Nope not happening non-starter totally uninterested. Selling snow to eskimos. Nope.
Given that I can set my thermostat back roughly part time, and most people work 40 hrs, and someone who can blow $300 on a thermostat probably works at least 60 hours, I will triple my theoretical savings to $36/year. Given a zero interest loan that would pay for itself in a "mere" nine years. Google products don't last nine years before being shut down but I will error on the side of optimism and assume this is an outlier. The problem is the 29.99% credit card to buy the $300 thermostat means it really costs $90/yr to buy one... and now we're saving $36/yr instead of $12, but its still an order of magnitude or so too little to run a profit before it requires replacement.
Still not seeing it.
The target audience is people who can't do math. Or like greenwashing. Or like showing off to other people that they can throw away $300 on a thermostat, or at least obtain a loan to do so. There's nothing particularly wrong with that as a market, either. I read an online article from three months ago that they were selling 40K/month and assuming they get a revenue of $100/unit (rest goes to retailer, warehouse, shipping, etc) thats a revenue of about $50M/yr which isn't bad. A 10% profit on revenue on electronics would be good, so lets say $5M profit per year. Well, I wouldn't pay about $4B today for $5M next year, but aside from that little issue...
I don't claim the product, in itself, is foolish at all. As a "hey look at how much money I have, err, had" $300 product, its probably a better long term investment than a $300 cellphone or a $300 computer video card or even a $300 giant TV. Some of the mathematical / economic rationalization is hilarious but that's orthogonal to the foolishness argument.
A reasonable opportunity cost might be 3%, I'm too lazy to bother figuring the time till profit because nine years at zero is already too long.
So say an alternative is 30, the cost is 220, not 300. That takes several years off your calculation. Then having the benefit of an improved interface is non zero. Even if it takes a long time to pay back I plan on living in my house for a long time, and I liked nice things.
Now if you want to argue about overpriced absurd things, go with their $130 smoke detector or whatever it is. No thanks.
Engineers and technical people tend to analyze things like their energy bill already. They also tend to love gadgets.
A couple of parts of Nest that aren't usually factored in are the convenience factor of using your favorite device to control the thermostat remotely and the cost of your current programmable thermostat. If new home owners choose Nest instead of another thermostat they only have to save $150 to make it worth it. And they can factor in convenience.
Another words, it's not a crazy idea to pay a little extra for one these especially if you haven't already been analyzing your energy usage.
"Programming thermostats is complicated and irritating - but an un-programmed thermostat can waste 20% of your heating and cooling bill. So the Nest Thermostat programs itself."
So she works 40 hrs a week which works out to 25% of the time. So we can just turn the thermostat down 4 times as far for a quarter the time. So... She leaves for work and the thermostat drops to 70-40=30. Which is unfortunately below freezing so all her plumbing pipes burst. But at least she saved 10% on her heating. Also she owns an indoor cat and at 30F she'd turn into a frozen cat-sicle.
So she pays $300 for a thermostat that can't save her 10% on her bill unless she destroys all her plumbing flooding her house and killing her cat. I'm not seeing this as a great selling point.
So, no, cold parts of the country are precisely the locations where you can't achieve great heating savings because its mathematically impossible because its so cold outside. Maybe a 20000 sq foot mcmansion on the coast in florida, it might work there. But not where its cold.
But imagine that there are 4 or 5 months a year where the outdoor temperature is 15 or 20 degrees colder than a comfortable indoor temperature. And imagine turning down the thermostat during the night in those periods, not just during unoccupied times.
(I realize that more energy is used during cold periods, but some huge portion of the country lives in areas that rarely see 20 for the several months they are below 60).
The polar vortex scenario is where a thermostat can help the least.
For instance, imagine a home that heats from 50 most of the time. Then it is (1-15/20)/100=25%.
This mathematical model would work for a poorly insulated house in an area that never gets cold. So if in Atlanta the furnace is struggling at 50F outside, then this would mathematically work out. The problem of course is total annual heating bills in Atlanta probably aren't very impressive, so saving even 10% on them still wouldn't amount to much.
The broader point is that the average heating season temperature at the location is more interesting than the coldest temperature experienced during a given decade.
That still ends up being something like (1-8/50)/100 for a lot of people, so an easy opportunity for 15% during away times (and 70->62 isn't an absurd night setting...).
Beyond that, you're completely missing the point about a smarter thermostat: the savings don't come from the temperature outside is -15° and your heater is running almost constantly. You have to deal with that by adding insulation or living in a colder house. Where many people can save money is waste: when the heating or cooling would have run without benefit – e.g. it's 40° outside and you're paying to keep it over 65° but it'd really be perfectly fine if it drifted down to 50° for the 8+ hours in the middle of the day when everyone's at work. A serious miser will religiously turn it off before they walk out the door but most people won't. Many people even leave the thermostat set at a comfortable temperature because they dislike coming home to a very cold/hot house.
Those people are the ones who will benefit the most from something programmable but unfortunately most of the devices on the market have horrible UIs and none of the $30 ones will do things like detect when you aren't home, which is significant for people who don't have rigidly predictable schedules. Again, it doesn't have to be a game-theoretical optimum – only better than what most people are doing now.
> Unfortunately my heating bills over a very long term only average maybe $100/month, which I'm sure sounds insane to coasties
Head to New England and your new neighbors will complement you on your frugality, as most people have heating bills 4-8 times that high in the winter. Toss in, say, a spike in heating oil costs and anything which reduces inefficiency starts to look pretty cheap. Hint: none of them had McMansions, either – it's just cold during the winter in Connecticut.
> So I can save about $1/month or $12/year. At $300 retail, it'll pay for itself by 2039.
Even worse, most will be purchased using a 30% interest rate credit card, making payback time infinite. The 30% interest on the credit card to pay for the $300 thermostat would be $90/year but I'm only saving at best $12/year. Whoops.
When you need to make up numbers so the math makes your argument seem less arbitrary it's time to accept that other people are allowed to make decisions in life without your approval. You're overstating the purchase price by nearly 25% and assuming the worst possible purchase method – and you're doing that for an amount which the average American household spends on cable tv / internet / smartphones every couple of months.
> The final killer problem is I intentionally don't live in a McMansion so I can have a better lifestyle, such as not shivering in the winter. I've already decided to own a 25% smaller house to save 25% on my heating bills, I have absolutely no interest whatsoever in saving 10% on my bill by shivering. I'm not paying thousands of dollars a month to shiver in a house when I could be warm and toasty in a hundreds of dollars a month apartment. Nope not happening non-starter totally uninterested. Selling snow to eskimos. Nope.
You do seem to need a lot of external validation for your decisions. Hopefully the smug feelings will keep you warm.
1) doubling is the same as an order of magnitude (or more), ah math who cares.
2) it costs the same amount to heat a house to a given temp no matter the outdoor temp (for a house built to be comfortable down to -30, heating at 40 costs almost nothing)
3) The public is stupid, far too dumb to program something, so lets prey on them with something real expensive that tries to avoid that.
4) average and peak are the same. Pick whichever advances an argument more.
5) Its OK to rip people off as long as you don't rip them off for more money than other people do.
6) I do admit you are 100% correct on the price. And given the mighty power of Google and expansion and wider availability of capital not only are you correct that the price has slightly dropped, but I suggest going further and in the long run it could drop to $100 or so, maybe lower. Fundamentally, from an electronic standpoint, the inevitable Chinese clones will probably only be $75 or so. See also #1 above, 25%, order of magnitude, who's counting.
7) Paraphrase to something like I don't like the results of your math equations, so I'll call you smug instead. Come on, you can do better than that. If we're going to go all playground here, "Your mom" me or something.
Oddly enough you haven't convinced me you're correct and I'm wrong.
> 2) it costs the same amount to heat a house to a given temp no matter the outdoor temp (for a house built to be comfortable down to -30, heating at 40 costs almost nothing)
This is not about how much it costs to heat a house to a given temperature. It's about how often heating or cooling is used when the occupants don't need it.
> 3) The public is stupid, far too dumb to program something, so lets prey on them with something real expensive that tries to avoid that.
The only thing I said on this is that most programmable thermostats have bad UI and I'd extend that bad UI to note that they also tend to assume a rigid schedule.
It came as no surprise to me when I read the government studies concluding that programmable thermostats: the Honeywell which my Nest replaced allowed you to set two temperatures per day and there was no way to adjust for changes in your schedule without clicking through the entire schedule — 3 (hour, minute, AM/PM) pairs with two high/low temperature thresholds for 7 days or almost 40 clicks on low-quality buttons which would have shamed a $2 calculator. If you knew you were going to be out late one evening, do you spend 15 minutes clicking through that UX disaster or just say “Meh, we'll heat the house for a couple extra hours”? Maybe you plan to go out for a couple hours mid-day? There's no way to express that short of turning the entire thing off, which is fine part of the year and annoying during the rest when it means you'll come home to a very hot/cold house because there's no way to say “Keep the house over 50° (or under 80°) for the next few hours”.
That's not saying that the public is stupid, it's saying that there's been a market failure in producing decent thermostats. It'd be great if there were options between the Nest and the junk $30 thermostats for people who wanted more intelligence (or just the silly auto-away sensor) but don't mind, say, cheap plastic fittings or losing some of the more processor-intensive features.
> 5) Its OK to rip people off as long as you don't rip them off for more money than other people do.
You're arguing against something which I didn't write.
> 7) Paraphrase to something like I don't like the results of your math equations, so I'll call you smug instead. Come on, you can do better than that. If we're going to go all playground here, "Your mom" me or something.
Your entire argument has been that if people lived exactly the same way as you do and made the same decisions which you've made it's wrong for them to want a Nest. That's smug because it assumes that there are no other valid positions. Using terms like “ripped off” implies a moral judgement rather than, say, people making decisions based on different circumstances. Similarly, assuming that people will finance everything on a bad credit card is implicitly stating that most people who are not you make bad personal financial decisions — that's both insulting and irrelevant to the issue at hand.
There's $10K kitchen ranges out there, $50 beer mugs. etc. Design can carry premiums in this market, and Nest is trying to be the best looking thermostat in the industry. It doesn't matter if you can hack one for $40. It's a wealthy couple who doesn't hack who just want nice stuff in their house that works. And if you think that's weird, just recognize it's your taste, not reality. Why does West Elm exist if there's Ikea.
... said someone in a forum occupied mostly by middle class people from America.
Median household income, 2008-2012 $53,046
If we're talking globally, software engineers are even further to the right end.
2. The relevant meaning for this particular discussion is "in a position to spend $200 on a thermostat but not willing to spend thousands". That seems like pretty much exactly the bracket a lot of US software people would be in.
(There is a phenomenon in US politics where people earning $300k/year think they are "middle class" and I agree that that's silly. But software developers on ~$100k? Middle class. No question.)
They have the classic business model of a better product for a higher price. If the thermostat market had consisted entirely of Nest and then Honeywell introduced cheap, crappy thermostats, that'd be disruption.
I really agree with the premise of that article, with one major exception: when the real price is your attention. Internal combustion engines, iOS, can legitimately be seen as disruption: they were more expensive than their equivalent, but thosed need so much effort… Nest might be the same for domotic.
I must say it's actually quite nice to use. I can put it in a mode where it does precisely what I want. Hold a temperature until told otherwise, and let me choose that temperature from my desktop or iPhone from anywhere.
Such a mode so simple that the Nest refuses to allow it.
Nest can hold a set temperature like any other thermostat. It'll do so better than any other thermostat, in fact, by learning the efficiency of your heater and A/C so that it doesn't overshoot your targets, and takes into account whether the thermostat is in direct sunlight part of the day, and airflow in your house.
It can also be told to hold a temperature forever, to hold a threshold forever (cool if it gets above 75, heat if it gets below 60), you can set a detailed schedule manually, you can tell it to hold a temperature until a certain time, or you can tell it to just kick on the fan for the next X minutes without changing the temperature then turn back off.
Turning on/off auto-schedule is one click if you want that feature, like all its other learning features. I've never run into any kind of bug with mine. You can change the temperature it's holding at from your iPhone or desktop from anywhere, along with all its other settings.
Indeed. From this review:
> And the Nest doesn't have a Hold Temperature option, which is a feature even a $25 thermostat has. The final Nest deal-breaker for me is the +-3 degree temperature swing. If you set it to 72, it will keep the temperature between 69 and 75, a total of 6 degree swing, which sucks compared to the +-1 degree swing of the Honeywell.
* If Nest isn't on a schedule (whether it's a manually set schedule or the "auto-schedule"), it's holding temp. Like every other thermostat.
* It is more sensitive than the Honeywell, not less; it kicks on at +1 degrees on AC mode, but -0.7 degrees on heat. If you really want, you can set fractional target temperatures too.
* He thinks Nest shows nothing on its display but the temperature, when it's actually a fully interactive computer. All the settings can be changed at the wall, not just using the app/website.
At least the number of Amazon reviews suggests Nest is outselling all the Honeywell wifi panels over 20:1 anyway.
Who knows? Maybe it was written by a Honeywell shill. Worked on me apparently.
I will note one other difference which helped sway me to Honeywell is the fact that the Nest requires a battery, while the Honeywell requires "bus" power. I actually didn't have a "C wire" set up before I installed mine, but it was trivial to climb into the attic and re-purpose the fan control wire to instead provide constant (24VAC) power.
Granted, changing thermostat batteries wasn't really at the top of my pet peeve list, but I did read that the Nest has the potential to suck batteries dry too quickly. Any opinion on battery life?
It has a permanent internal battery, charged by the power wire, which allows it to stay active in a power failure and to use more power than some systems provide when you're interacting with its screen. So there's no real difference between the Nest and the Honeywell in terms of power or installation except that the Nest has a built-in rechargeable li-ion backup battery.
Here's how mine's wired, courtesy the mobile app again: http://i.imgur.com/Rls9EZk.png
There's nothing really fancy about a thermometer, humidity sensor, IR motion sensor and a bit of software anyway. Which is why Nest had no trouble identifying prior art to each of the patents Honeywell tried to assert (and made no offer to license). They carved their niche by being the only company that cared to make the most of some simple inputs and packaged them up in a way that looked different from the rest of the market. It's somewhat similar to the iPod/iPhone story.
I live in Wisconsin where I would be hard pressed to spend $300/month during the worst imaginable weather (and this is five months... the worst imaginable weather is .. January. Three months earlier or later isn't too bad, back to $100/mo or less). With the recent polar vortex event settled right over my house, maybe this will be a $400 month for me... maybe not.
I assume by "bay area" and spending $600/mo on heating you mean Prudhoe Bay on the north slope of Alaska?
a) It is a historically cold year for a prolonged period of time
b) You set your heat to 80F all the time
With gas heating, it looks almost impossible to save $250... unless you're heating an NBA arena.
Another amazing thing to me is how well and how fast they managed to build prominent industry relationships: you can get rebates
from the electric company, they are on Home Depot and Lowes shelves, advertised on NPR, etc.
I am not sure. They might be famous. But there is nothing like 'other products failed'. Just because 'other products' inventors don't blog and submit it on HN/Reddit every two hours, it doesn't mean they failed.
Internet of things is there since a long time, You won't hear about them in your regular internet forum discussions. But there are billions! of small embedded devices communicating over networking/internet and were communicated before Nest was even born.
Arguing that somebody shouldn't expand a large number because you personally now perceive this number differently and therefore it is intellectually dishonest is a bit of a squirrely argument, don't you think?
We're all capable thinking humans here. That isn't to say that smart people cannot be swayed with rhetoric and such, but don't you think that the same argument you're making here could be made against compressing such large numbers? Maybe expanding that number isn't so much exaggerating its value as it is simply impressing upon us its true enormity.
$3.2B ($3,200,000,000.00) is a lot of fucking money, after all. For anybody.
I say it is intellectually dishonest because it reads to me as a clear attempt to make the number appear more impressive.
Borrowing from Wikipedia, "intellectual honesty":
Facts are presented in an unbiased manner, and not twisted to give misleading impressions
There's a reason people don't use Prolog...
I think about the Flip Video -- a reasonably-priced, small video recorder that could capture up to 2 hours of HD video. It was purchased by Cisco in 2009, and the product line was killed 23 months later. This was before a large number of consumers had quality smartphone cameras.
Google had a good reason to drop $3.2B on Nest. Providing useful products that consumers love is not it.
Previously I would look to YouTube as an acquisition done right. But after the kerfuffle around G+ integration, I no longer feel that way.
If I have to sign in with my G+ account to manage my smoke alarm, it's going directly into the rubbish bin.
If Apple had bought Nest, on the other hand, I'd feel very differently.
Although I'm a happy user of Facebook and Twitter, I think SV's social obsession has largely been fruitless. Social does not improve most products and can actually harm them.
And now I'm worrying about how "social" is going to be slapped on to my fire alarm.
The idealist in me is incredibly excited at the possibility of Nest's fundamental strengths being bolstered by Google's coffers.
The more intimately a service knows you, the more personalized and relevant data it can bring.
And another thing, I am really sick and tired of tempering or being told to temper my enthusiasm for some new technology or some novel use of existing technology just because it might be misused. Just about every technology that's wide-reaching enough has abuse potential. That is not an excuse for ludditism! Deal with the abuse instead of hamstringing the tech.
If Google records that data (say, to be able to provide you with a handy chart of your energy use and some ways to improve it), the potential I am more worried about is the fact that the data exists makes it possible to subpoena.
The government holds deadly force. Private enterprise is going to do some horrifying things with your data, but barring a cyperpunk dystopia, it lacks the capability to end your life.
And yes, while it doesn't matter what they can and cannot do with your data now (unless you're a criminal not much, obviously), if the government ever becomes excessively authoritarian and dictatorial, keep in mind they can retroactively go through all the data they ever gathered on you and find something to string you up with.
Burglars could look at the database and say "Oh hey, look, no one's home right now."
This is just another excuse to throw feces at Google, and HN commenters just don't miss any possible opportunity to do that.
google data breach in last 30 days: http://money.cnn.com/2013/12/04/technology/security/password...
inside job at home security company in last year: http://www.wbng.com/news/state/198129651.html
(disclaimer: I work for Google, have no special knowledge of the incident in question)
Except that's impossible to actually implement, or manage, and makes your life so much harder for questionable benefit.
Don't see how the acquisition changed the value of that data. Do you really think Nest has better data security than Google?
But if you have access to someone's live power usage, you probably have a good idea of their schedule. On top of that, your phone makes a much better tracker than your thermostat.
What about the auto-away feature?
Your phone makes a much better tracker for such things.
I haven't invested the time into setting up a proper home automation rig yet, but it is on my to-do list.
That's where the problem lies: the greatest gains should come from features/sensors/products not yet introduced. Of course temperature preference is a very weak data point for privacy, but I can think of a few invasive things a future device could have. I don't know if that's actually possible with a device in that price point, but if a thermostat could know who is in a room, there's a lot of good/evil that could be done with that data.
But once you correlate house size (via the property appraiser's website, public records) with house temperate (which the NSA gets from Google and supplies to the DEA) and electricity usage (utility companies roll right over for these requests) it'll be much easier to put together a pool of target-rich "suspects" who need to be "investigated" to generate probable cause.
Just one of the ways the data rich future just might subjugate us all!
At least until someone starts correlating satellite photos with solar permits. Then you're back on the radar, and maybe higher up since only people with something to hide have off-grid solar!
Imagine that the season is changing where you live. You could be expected to start shopping for warm clothes. Google can easily show you ads for pricier warm clothes, and move organic results to page 2. Or Google knows you boiler broke down. And shows ads of pricier service companies instead of the lower-priced local fixer who is now on page 4. The immediate harm is that pricier alternatives are pushed to you, and you don't even know that cheaper alternatives exist, because Google controls your entire world.
Secondly, what you suggest really isn't even misuse.
Stuff related to your personal life and your feelings? You probably can't keep it from the NSA, but you can keep some of it from Google and Facebook. Super secret work stuff (think airplane parts, not stealth mobile app startups)? Cryptography and all kinds of misdirection to throw off spies.
When Google knows a lot about me, it knows what cuisines I like, so when I search for "restaurant" it can return search results for restaurants I might like... except I could have searched for "<cuisine> restaurant in <place>" and the results would be good enough.
Current returns are too marginal and my own judgement is often better; future hypothetical returns may be matched by improvements that don't require so many privacy invasions — specialized search engines, for instance.
My approach is based on thinking ahead and of the future benefits I might get from Google knowing my private information (Glass, Google Now etc). I never thought that "future hypothetical returns may be matched by improvements that don't require so many privacy invasions". You've gave me something to think about!
└ Ambient Temperature Preferences
Power outage? Bring 11ºC up to 20ºC. Hotel rooms from $109.
Get an energy audit and stop those 3ºC/hr leaks, save $X/year.
Broken furnace? Call XXX-XXX-XXXX now.
Though ... indoor & outdoor temperature would be a fun addition to Google Now. And imagine if the Google Nest was a mini-server for home automation?
Why might I be interes... OH MY GOD!!
ADD: And then in summer months... setting at 72 or less = Mercedes ads, 72 - 77 = mid income ads, > 77 = Fans and air conditioner ads.
Imagine your thermostat suddenly saying: "Excuse me, but I believe you've been speaking about ice cream. FYI, your local supermarket is running a special for the next 48 hours."
Can that be right? $3.2 billion? That's a crazy huge sum.
On the flip side, P&G is a $217bil business - so, not that crazy how big the market is and can be.
EDIT: As larrys points out, Honeywell is a $70bil biz.
HoT only appears to have the rights to certain Honeywell products and not the thermostats:
Edit: "Honeywell" that you are referring to has a market cap of almost 70 billion:
On top of that, think of what those guys still have under the hood. Google wants to be the everything of your life. Smartphones fill a part of that but smart devices are another big chunk; and Nest was the company that is undoubtely leading a revolution on the field.
This isn't a strategic move to eventually dominate the thermostat market. This is a strategic move to eventually dominate the 'everything you need' market.
There's something to be said for knowing what value a website brings to your business and building it to the appropriate level.
Also, Google+ checkins when you walk into your house and G+ status updates when you adjust your temperature would increase the G+ 'active user' count for them.
This could provide the ideal way of monetizing this platform in the future.
Given the setup, network and power requirements Nest operates under, this may well be the most efficient way it can be done. Or maybe it does do some kind of long-polling and the descriptions online are inaccurate. Either way, I doubt there's anything "absurdly wasteful" going on here. Poll vs push isn't melting polar ice caps.
Each Nest will feed data (anonymized, of course /cough/) back to Google so they'll know home heating patterns, heck, home usage patterns (it watches activity and proactively & predictively adjusts for when people are/aren't around). Feed vast amounts of that data into the cumulatively large (no adjective does it justice) data mining process and they'll know that much more about [m|b]illions of people & locations.
US$3.2B? In the USA alone that works out to $0.003 per person per day over 10 years (assuming everyone has a Nest device in the long run; optimistic calculation, but sets the ballpark values).
Would seem to me that if you wanted to simply get at the product designers you could do that for less than 3.2b. The designers are good but they aren't that good. And throw enough money at people and loyalty goes out the window.
You can determine a lot about locations looking at their usage. Targeted adds, plus it ads value to their smart phones.
Nest is in a unique position as basically the only player out of many who have successfully made home automation devices that people actually want, and don't look like they came out of a backyard plastic mould cast in the late 60s.
Search around for home automation solutions - the hardware is universally clunky, the software atrocious. Only the most dedicated of DIY geeks need apply (or people who can pay contractors to make the ugliness go away).
So if your phone geolocates to the frozen north, and the thermostat indicates the furnace is working extra hard, expect to see warm vacation destination ads in your desktop web browser at work, or something like that.
Further people keep repeatedly claiming that the Nest device has some sort of presence detection. To my knowledge it has no such thing -- it simply allows you to program it by daily overrides instead of actively turning it on or off. Though of course many people eventually just end up setting it to a static temperature.
There is no amazing in-house intelligence gathering platform here.
Nest’s activity sensors have a 150° wide-angle view. That range enables Nest to activate Auto-Away in 90% of homes."
Don't know if its just a 0-D light level sensor or a PIR motion detector or a camera. But it does have a 150 degree FoV which vaguely implied optics.
It has certain architectural implications, my thermostat is on a lightly traveled inside hallway between sleeping and living quarters, so I'll never be able to use a nest; it would consider the house unoccupied pretty much all the time other than bedtime and wakeup time. I guess there are people with thermostats installed in their kitchen and/or living room and/or home office?
How does this work then?
"Auto-Away saves energy by reducing heating and cooling in empty homes. Instead of having to turn the thermostat down every time you leave the house (and back up when you return), the Nest Learning Thermostat turns itself down automatically when it senses that you’re away."
Google does not base their future on ads. They deal in technology and connectivity, and the automation of the home entirely fits within that vision.
So no the jokes are not real concerns and are mostly silly intellectually lazy exaggerations.
I can't say exactly if/how this affects the acquisition but it does feel like some of the money is just traveling in a circle.
The connected smoke alarm as a cool object really amazed me - it's where new business models are made.
For a couple decades demand shedding devices have been offered for A/C and electric water heaters where you get a microscopic credit to your bill and the electric co can use a stereotypically totally rube goldberg contraption (remember, these systems have been around for decades) to remotely shed some peak load for a couple hours at a time. I could see something like $5 credit on google play or free google music streaming if you sign up for a load shedding program that uses the nest. And occasionally your thermostat drops by 5 degrees for a couple hours even when it "shouldn't".
So, what else do they do that makes Google want to pay $3+ billion (pinkie to lip) for Nest?
Your sarcasm is lost because Google does plan on monetizing (adding ads) to Gmail for Android.
Or that they do track your location often for deals, google+, etc.
There was also the thumb integration (you could thumbs-up some ads from either live tv or your recordings, which would pull up a new page with info about whatever was being advertised, occasionally a video), but this is about as unintrusive as it gets (a small icon on the top right whenever a compatible ad is played).
Has this changed in the newer revs? I'm honestly curious.
(Your ad blocker may stop that page from working properly.)
As far as DVRs go - I'm still convinced they're the best I've seen.
It's a play into the growing "connected product" / smart home segment. When you combine google's resources, their current software and hardware products, and the type of products Nest is likely to move on to, you get some strong synergies that Google would be dumb to ignore. A little more discussion on where things could go from here (that doesn't touch on the NSA or government subpoenas) would be really refreshing.
1) Nest has a realistic potential to be in "every" home if not the actual hardware then the underlying intelligence.
2) Nest has a business model that works. People are paing for it and they love it.
3) Combining Google data with Nest access points I can only imagine the awesome things they can come up with and improve. Perhaps the first glimpse at an intelligent grid system.
4) 3.2 is a steal and given that its cash its a good sale.
I really don't think so. Many homes haven't even upgraded to a $20 programmable thermostat, let alone a $200 nest.
It's not about the thermostat its about the ecosystem its part of.
And I did write "every" :)
I am going to sit here with a bemused expression on my face thinking of Tony Fadell at data driven Google. I put it 6 months before he is out of there.
Mine is still in the box :(.
I for one see great areas of improvement and possibilities inside the common house. Not that I'd wire up every appliance with a Wi-Fi sensor, but some data can be useful, if only for safety (falling asleep with the oven on: here a sensor could cut the power at a certain condition, or trigger the fire alarm, or ring up the firefighters).
Or you left the house and realise you left some of the lights on, just tell the in-car console to open the domotics app, and tell it to shut the lights off.
And the smart fridge, if RFIDs or its successor ever become cheap enough to be able to be printed on a milk carton, you could have your fridge's contents with you wherever you go, just open the app, look what's about to go off, or have it remind you to get extra supplies when you're near a point of interest.
If they'll let me I'll hook up a Nagios server to my coffee machine.
I recently met with some people behind a startup built entirely around generating meal plans for you. I understand that it's a useful service (for some types of people). But I worry about the implication that we are now a species that can't even figure out what to eat for ourselves.
Or in a more poetic form: We're all turning into computers, a bit each day.
But in my view, I see it more as an enrichment of the status quo, meaning making optimal use of (useful, not NSA-like) data-gathering sensors we have at our disposal and the data points we could glean from them. As the data was always there, we (until shortly) never showed interest in it. And a lot of it might very well be uninteresting, but if some of it enriches or simplifies a certain task in our daily lives in a meaningful way, it'd be well worth it in my opinion.
But I do feel what you'r expressing, like we need an app to do everything.
But I much rather live with these little apps and have lots of good information than to live completly oblivious to everything like my grandads (kind'of. I still have my hippie moments).
We can do better than that here.
I was irritated by your "...we are now a species that can't even figure out what to eat for ourselves...". It is certainly only my interpretation, but your comment wasn't unlike CNN headline blowing out of proportion another piece of trite consumer business.
Btw, no "we" (as in HN community) can't do better than that, as evidenced by multiples of such posts and comments.
I am willing to bet a lot that Nest have either something similar or that google wants to spearhead this market and are scrambling with whatever the cost the know how.
I thought sparrow was great for iOS and OS X. Googles gmail app is not as stable.
Lately I've been concerned about google and privacy this make make me change my mind and just buy a competitors version of a "nest". The price is what has been keeping me away.
But I have every expectation that this data, if not right away, could someday be sent to the criminal gangs that wear suits and ties that are looking for new targets to loot and plunder.
Just knowing the temperature in your house, cross-referenced with other data about you as well as electricity bills, could be enough for a future police agency to argue probable cause that you're running a drug growing operation and have them do all kinds of raids and intrusive searches and harassment.
This shouldn't be an issue, but Google has earned absolutely zero trust with its obvious non-denials of NSA activity and other negative conduct.
Because with a $10 android chip, any Chinese plant could churn out Nest clones in a few months.
Nest threw a lot of money at Home Depot, if the dedicated end caps I've seen for the last couple of years are any indication.
I am not sure why people always say Google makes companies suck. This may be the case sometimes, but it is that way for most companies who buy things if they try to make changes. Just look at YouTube. It has become quite successful, despite some poor decisions.
I would spend a ton of money putting everything on one chip, getting the cost down to $5 or $10 for the same user experience. Maybe put in a cheaper display if needed. Now this wireless device in the house can pay itself off in very short amount of time, making it a super easy decision for consumers. The current offerings of thermostats are clunky and have horrible user interfaces that require modes and buttons and such to program.. forget about daylight savings time!
If people can buy Nest functionality for $50 then google will have a solid foothold in people's homes. From that they can sell camera's that show up through your google TV device and get into the security market.
The dial on Nest is a universal interface, as the original ipod has shown us, perfect for scrolling through menu's and long lists and for changing volume or choosing music. Might as well put a microphone in so people can ask the internet things.
Still not quite sure it's worth $3.2Billion.. perhaps there was a bidding war?
Is that Color-level valuation for a Thermostat company?
Or more like Instagram-level...
What possible consumer benefit could that indirection have?
edit: The reason I ask is that I'm trying to figure out why an exact copy of Nest except that it didn't leak data and didn't require other people's servers to work wouldn't eat Nest's lunch.
Protects the pipes, too.
wonder how bad their financials were when they're already selling.
fucking SnapChat refused a FB offer, but Nest just rolls over and dies.
turns out it's just another boring let's get rich story.
The biggest obstacle is and has been that most of the utilitarian devices in homes already do their jobs pretty well. They're also inexpensive. What does Nest/Google have to offer that won't be more expensive and will present some life-changing advantage over a conventional stove/thermostat/garage door opener?
Google should NOT have always-on sensors of any type.
You have set a temperature of 65°F. Share your climate preferences your Google+ circles?
3.2B to head off Apple from creating the "iPod of home automation" is still a bargain.
I love my nest. I hope they do good things with the brand. I'll admit.. I am fearful for what they'll do with it.
Now there's another Google product that will never hit the UK.