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Google to Acquire Nest (investor.google.com)
684 points by coloneltcb 1196 days ago | hide | past | web | 568 comments | favorite

Am I the only one who thought "well, good for the Nest guys" followed by "too bad, it looked like a good product"?

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.

Please, no more sarcasm. you've filled this thread with confusion.

Not everybody follows the details of OS version updates on Motorola phones.

Yep. I'll go even further: in this case, "not everybody" means "nobody."

Nobody, aside from the people on XDA and /r/Android. And maybe a few on HN.

If i'm not mistaken, Google has been dipping it's toes in home automation for some time.



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.

Yeah, if you're on the cynical side of the whole "Google is co-opted by the government to help track and control the populace" idea, which you have no reason not to be after the NSA leaks, it is absolutely terrifying.

I am definitely not into conspiracy theories, but: if Google is really doing this out of best intentions which I can totally buy, and Google has no interest in spying on anyone personally, but only in selling ads, which I can also buy, I think it is still a problem. The thing is that once every household has a smart Internet connected gadget with eyes and ears and a way to load software onto it remotely, it is just too big a target for someone like the NSA not to go after. Why not load spy software on these just in case? Oh and it can all be legal and it can be made illegal for Google or Nest or whoever to talk about it.

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.

Yeah, you've got to be really careful about cynicism. It's very easy to venture into David Icke territory.

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.

This is absurd. That data isn't worth anything, let alone to make up for the investment in these things. No one cares that you turn off your lights at 9:43, or that you are at slightly more risk for diabetes. At least not advertisers or the government. And the government isn't paying for this stuff anyways, they just get a court order to take it for free.

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?

"No one cares that you turn off your lights at 9:43, or that you are at slightly more risk for diabetes. At least not advertisers..."

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.

um, wat? I was commenting regarding ugly OEM themes ruining the paragon of perfection that is AOSP. I think you may have meant to reply to someone else.

just write:

>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

Well, I think sarcasm is the appropriate response to a top comment that contains no information besides "I don't like this".

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.

Motorola not withstanding, Google has a history of killing/closing well-loved products (profitability aside).

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.

Yeah, and like Android and Youtube. Sarcasm aside, Google has actually done pretty well with acquisitions compared to other companies. (Say ones that begin with "M" or "Y").

You can see the list in wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisition...

YouTube was fine when Google wrote checks and got out of the way. Now Larry and co. have their hands all over it and YT is slowly going to shit... from the G+ spam to the annotation spam and of course you need to sign in to keep them turned off (lol maybe!), to "hey let's make you rebuffer the whole video you just watched" to just horrid performance drops in general to "hey we found a way to make YT comments even worse".

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.

"hey we found a way to make YT comments even worse"

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.

Well, since they are (more) tightly integrated with Google+ you get even more inane one-liners like 'interesting' that somebody posted with sharing the video, and useless banter in conversation threads following these shares.

Actually the comment quality on the videos I watch seems to have improved markedly since the G+ integration...

Coincidence? No clue... Still, all the "OMG G+ will destroy youtube!1!" whining is looking pretty stupid...

I agree... it is still horrible, but it seems to be slightly less horrible now.

I always thought of them as the "song ID" section for artsy videos, because that's what they used to be good for. Now even that is broken.

I'd love to see Nest integrated with Google+.

"OMG LOL your house is burning down."

Was just noting today how crappy youtube has become. Agree with you totally.


comments, ads, channels, even the way the video buffers is annoying smfh

while its hard to argue with your point. YT is a huge revenue generating product. Now more than ever Google is probably being pressured by the "content owners" and trying to balance the need for creators to market their channels and helping them grow through questionable content. I think with a mature, product like YT its understandable.

I understand the ads, and they blocking videos just because somebody passed aroung listenning to a music. I don't care about comments at all, thus I don't even know how they changed...

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.

Agree , I generally look forward to vimeo as an alternative

While I agree with the statement, lately Google's action has been concerning (with things like Reader, Google+ push, and what not).

I just don't want to see Google dominating the world. Competition is nice.

Are you implying that google did a disservice to the competition by creating a desire for a product and then retiring it with months of warning for competitors to develop their product and attract google's large user base while allowing users to easily migrate their information to those services?

Google did a disservice by creating a free service with which other companies (who need to make a profit) couldn't compete. The only way to make any money in the RSS space was to create something that interfaced with Google Reader (which I know because I spent a lot of time trying to find a good one that didn't).

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.

"literally overnight"

3.5 months.

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

> 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.

"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_.

That is actually a very good point. With all the lamenting of Google Reader sunsetting, positive externalities are ignored. And they are plentiful: multiple startups have springed up to compete for new audience, established companies like Feedly have experienced an influx of users and the landscape generally became much more competitive.

In the warsaw circle countries, we had a joke (and I say it as a fairly hardline socialist) that „communism heroically solves the problems it created”.

Sounds like the case.

I agree with vdaniuk, that it is a good point. It changed my mind a bit.

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.

Yes and we can find tons of examples where they haven't done well, e.g. Jaiku which they pretty much threw away, Dodgeball which let the founders leave in anger and got them to found Foursquare outside of Google etc...

You're looking at this the wrong way. Google acquisitions tend to go two ways: talent acquisition, or hitting for homeruns. Is it worth it to Google if they buy a Jaiku and a Dodgeball and a bunch of other relatively small companies and essentially whiff, then knock it out of the park when they buy an Android or a YouTube? Short termers always back, but when you look back over the last five years the overall strategy has been sound.

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)

Sarcasm aside? I think the case could be made that those products have grown in public perception, but also suffered at the same time very definitely because of Google influence. Take the second comment ever by one of the YouTube founders? https://www.youtube.com/user/jawed/ for a quick example

One can object to Google's Plussification of everything, but it's not like the quality of Youtube comments have been harmed. (In fact these XKCD comics may be obsolete now: https://www.google.com/search?q=youtube+comments+site%3Axkcd... ) And Youtube overall has done quite well.

Android would have gone nowhere without being acquired, since OEMs and carriers wouldn't talk to such a small company.

Yes it gives you traction, when otherwise people might not have heard of you, but you also lose your identity more than ever. In the past when Google acquired something it was like "Yay! Google!" now it is like "Yay that company! And sorry." Actually the top comment in this thread nailed my immediate feelings pretty well.


I think there a lot of things to bash Google on, but the outcome of Motorola is not one of them. The G and X look like great phones and they were all pieces of shit before.

the parent comment was sarcasm.

I immediately thought 'google will tie this into your google phone for you. That could be pretty nice.'

I think the concern is that they'll tie it into their data collections practices. An online page to manage your thermostat(s) remotely and grant access to the API, but you have to sign in with your Google+ account to access it.

pspb is clearly making an ill-advised attempt at sarcasm.

I don't mind sarcasm as long it's marked "<sarcasm>...</sarcasm>" at the least.

You're being sarcastic right? Sorry if it's a dumb question.

Everything I just said is the exact opposite of reality, so yes.

Poe's law explains why sarcasm doesn't work on the internet:

  "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." [1]
[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poe's_law

(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+...)

Well not exactly: the one(?) form of sarcasm that works very well is when the facts being stated are clearly false. Though obviously this does rely on the audience knowing the factual background...

It relies on more than that. Not only does this rely on the audience to know the factual background, but it also relies on them coming to the conclusion that you also know the factual background and are not just uninformed, misinformed, or plain wrong. Sarcasm on the internet only works well between people who are familiar with one another.

This also relies on a similar cultural background. You'd be surprised at the cultural differences between US/California (a lot of the posters here) and Eastern Europe (my case). And my situation is mild - imagine how this scales between US/California and someone from a completely different culture (China, Africa, India). Actually it doesn't scale at all :)

If you must use sarcasm, here are a couple of common ways: 1) Yeah...because>(rest of comment) [the ellipsis will clarify that the comment is sarcasm at least some of the time but its reliability is not perfect]

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]

Let's hope you're being ironic :)

"Fast updates"? "Wonderful skin of Android"? Yes, that's sarcasm. MotoBlur was a prime example of egregious and UX-destroying vendor meddling with Android.

Like the Moto G?

Exactly a phone with an S4 pro for $180?!?! A complete rip-off I tell you.


The Moto X and G are a really GOOD value...

I hope the next Nexus phone is made by Motorola. I really like the body of their devices. I wanted to get a Moto X developer edition but it was too expensive, unfortunately.

(sarcasm) - use it!

!I wish sarcasm punctuation caught on⸮

sarcasm detector is reading off the meter... sarcasm detector broken


Actually believe it or not but this is a very very expensive acqu-hire. First engineer on the IPhone team? Father of the IPOD? given the size of the smartphone industry and given what apple has become because of the iphone one could argue that the dude is worth half a billion.

This is the most overlooked aspect of this acquisition.

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.

I would have much rather seen this as a technology/algorithm hire from a company like Honeywell or some other established HVAC company, which could have kept selling the Nest (and their new smoke detector, etc.) but also incorporated the technology into higher-tech commercial/industrial systems, where you some companies could probably save millions a year through more intelligent control and management systems.

Honestly, HVAC is a fantastic industry with plenty of room for innovation. This being said, there's far more accurate automation in industrial applications than around the home. A good example of this work is within airports and casinos. The new Vancouver Convention Centre is something worth reading up on too.

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.

On the contrary, get ready for the Google Home Security System!

Complete with hidden NSA silent remote deactivation codes.

"Steve is out of the house" shared publicly on google plus.

Ha. Robbers can already see if I'm out of the house by my instagram feed.

Not mine. I'd never use instagram - but now I can't buy a Nest thermostat, which I used to want.

I never found my Nest to be all that intelligent beyond "I wonder if he'll notice it's colder now?" "Oh wait, he turned me up, I guess he noticed." It's a game of cat and mouse with that darn auto-away enabled sometimes.

I find the learning functionality to be a nuisance. What makes it awesome is the design, the remote control, and the scheduling interface.

I figured as much. Just seems like a big fuss over a whole lot of nothing though if that's all it is. And 3.2 billion for that? Why couldn't Google just make their own that does exactly the same thing? I think its trendiness is all people really care about.

If it helps, as Verge commenters reminded me, it's 3.2 Instagrams, 0.8 Snapchats or 0.4 Skypes. :D

High end commercial/industrial HVAC systems already have automation that far outperforms anything Nest offers. Google up "honeywell comfortpoint".

I'm wondering if you expect him to design (Android) phones, where his talent would indeed be able to scale and justify the price — or do you see Google hiring him to lead a domotic division, and his price is based on Nest gorgeous, but not as-iconic products (yet)? Or is my distinction irrelevant in 2014, the year of wrist-servers?

As I understand it the way an aqui-hire works is that the buyer pays enough to buy off the liquidity preferences of the investors with little left over for the founders. But the founders, along with the much of the rest of the staff, gets jobs and golden handcuffs with the acquirer -- which puts their total compensation a few years out somewhere between a 'real' exit and what they would have gotten if they had gone to work for the acquirer in the first place.

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.

IMHO, if he wanted to work on new phones for large corporation he'd probably stay at Apple and not created his own company (getting full financial independence along the way). Of course 4 years have passed, maybe he's ready for some new experience.

Maybe he's ready for a billion dollars.

Yeah, I can't imagine this is too much more than an acqui-hire. The co-founder of Nest built the first iPod. Why wouldn't Google want him? Skipping over the whole "Google+ everywhere" argument, there's really not much data they can merge into my already-too-extensive G+ profile from my thermostat, other than I don't like being cold in the winter or hot in the summer to the tune of 70 degrees.

I understand that POV, but one would think that for $3.2B Google could have reinvented Nest ten times over. What's so unique (and protectable) about Nest that would make it worth what Google paid? Is their IP so broad and deep? Is there some fast-closing window most of us don't see? I'm boggled.

>>but one would think that for $3.2B Google could have reinvented Nest ten times over.

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.

well said. Autonomous small engineering units are the paradigm of current and past inventing. Skunk works, phantom works, etc. All of the MBA's combined with their fancy powerpoint presentations don't amount to 2 solid engineers with a whiteboard.

Could not agree more.

Considering they have revenue & a business model - it's more palatable than snapchat getting offered 3B by FB in cash & turning it down.

Thoughts, in order: "Good for the Nest gu... wait, how much?! And good for them to decide that even with a functional business they had to take it."

Anything is more palatable than that spectacular, cosmic-scale, epic failure.

My opinion of SnapChat is that it's not worth much because the founder lacks empathy — although the execution and success were (lucky and) impressive. Facebook on the other hand is a company I admire.

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).

No, my first thought was "wow, good for the Nest guys" followed by "too bad, I really don't want Google Analytics hanging on my wall."

Exactly my thoughts as well. Since I've never been keen on Google's ambitions to rival the various alphabet-soup agencies on what they know about everyone, I guess I can cross that off the list of upgrades I'll be doing when I replace the heater this spring.

The great meta-data bonus here is just "away". Now Google will have a much better idea of when you're not in your house. Why would I want Google to know when I'm not at home? I love the Nest. It's an exemplary work of UI, UX and engineering. But I've just turned off the network connection, and I won't be recommending it to any family or friends.

I think it is about the smart grid; the electric grid is supposed to adjust production of electricity to actual demand;

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_grid http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TV_pickup

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.

I'm trying to think of a tech acquisition that was favorable, or at the very least not unfavorable for the consumer.

It seems like tech (maybe all) acquisitions almost always favor the buyer and not the consumer.

Does anybody have any good examples?

Here are just a few examples:

- Keyhole (now Google Maps)

- Android Inc.

- Motorola Mobility

- GrandCentral (now Google Voice)

- NeXT

- Siri

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.

Don't forget Translate. It actually early on was an out-of-house service, but they kept buying companies and hiring people to work on it, and it got massively better. (So a lot like Keyhole/Maps: they took something it would cost you thousands of dollars a month for (literally, for Keyhole access), made it free, and made it better.)

Also Wordly (became Google Docs)

Google Voice is effectively a dead product, isn't it? Doesn't seem that favorable to me.

I use it every single day. I wouldn't call it dead.

We'll see if Google tries to wholly replace it with hangouts. I wouldn't be mad unless it were missing features.

Dead meaning Google has put it out to pasture and will eventually kill it for good.

Dead in the sense that there has not been feature addition one for several years, yes.

That is probably best acquisition outcome. Most companies buy something good then change it until it sucks.

The best acquisition outcome is something like Android or Kinect, definitely not watching GrandCentral stagnate for years after acquisition.

Kinect was not an acquisition. MS licensed the device from PrimeSense. Apple bought the company recently.

Except for one feature that users have been screaming for, since near day one: MMS support.

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).

It's kept working for the last 3 years being awesome... Doesn't seem that dead to me.

Not completely. When they came out with hangout integration in gmail, I completely lost all ability to make outgoing calls for a long time.

Reader kept working until they turned it off.

Yes but it wasn't dead until they killed it.

I keep my 10 year old cell phone number alive and well on voice.google.com, it works great.

> Google Voice is effectively a dead product, isn't it?

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.

Yes, Google Voice as a separate product is definitely going away. Its functionality will be subsumed by Hangouts, but nothing about that transition is clear to users.

Grand Central's acquisition was great for Americans and the few of us Canadians who were grandfathered in, but outside of the US (and Alberta for some reason), we lost a great service.

Keyhole became Google Earth, not Maps (they were created in-house)

I don't see the YouTube acquisition as being harmful.

Pixar is still making (some) good movies under Disney.

I'm sure there are more examples.

I would say it's debatable as to whether YouTube has been harmful. I think many aren't a fan of the licensing changes and other experience elements, but maybe those would have happened anyway.

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.

I think youtube wouldn't have managed to continue operations without a company like google stepping in. It was running massive bandwidth costs and did not have the ad network in place to monetize.

> Pixar is still making (some) good movies under Disney.

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?

Even with a handful of merely good movies, we still have four outstanding Pixar films post-Disney.

Also, I'm really enjoying the increase in quality of Disney movies post-Pixar. Just saw Frozen last week and loved it.

But given the timeline of producing those types of films, I wonder how much of those four was already in-motion prior to the deal closing?

I'm sure that all of them were, actually, which makes the post-purchase Pixar picture less pretty.

I think what helps explain this image is that it's likely everything before Cars 2 was already in development prior to the acquisition. Pixar seems to have lost some of their magic, however Disney is certainly stepping up their game. The aesthetic divide between them is shrinking. I did not like Wreck It Ralph though. Not at all.

Before Pixar was acquired by Disney they had a partnership.

Another example: Bungie made some great games under Microsoft.

Funny, I would have held Pixar and YouTube up as counterexamples.

Android, Inc., also acquired by Google, seemed to work out well for the consumer, I would say.

I just don't get why anyone would hold android up as an example of success, given the comments in the following thread.

The gap between expectations & execution on android is tremendous. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7053108

The comparison isn't between "what Android could be under Google" and "what Android is under Google".

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).

I would argue Hotmail — Microsoft brought scaling and maturity, and kept a stronghold on the net long enough to actually threaten and push Google further. I doubt Gmail would have appeared without that acquisition.

But then again: the dozen other examples cited above are certainly better.

Apple buying NeXT.

A large number of Google acquisitions involve Google making a product free that before cost money. </done-defending-google>

Has the Instagram acquisition had any negatives for the consumer?

Yes, photos are no longer embedded in tweets.

Which means I don't see them anymore, which means I don't cringe at the filter abuse... Wait, actually, this HAS improved things for my particular tastes. :) But yeah, this is a pretty good example because the link between the acquisition and the damage to the product / end user is very obvious.


I'd say that's why they buy the companies...

You are not alone. I wonder how long it will be until Google+ is required to change the temperature in your house.

Yeah that's where the +1 button is.

Not precisely my thoughts, but the sentiment's the same. As someone who doesn't trust Google with my information it means Nest isn't a product I'd buy any longer.

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+.

yeah, the last thing I need is my Nest thermostat and my Nest smoke alarm sending data about my house to Google / NSA

from http://techcrunch.com/2014/01/13/google-just-bought-connecte...

Will Nest customer data be shared with Google?

Our privacy policy clearly limits the use of customer information to providing and improving Nest’s products and services. We’ve always taken privacy seriously and this will not change. ----- is it just me or is that a non denial?

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.

It's a dumb question. There is no such thing as "shared with Google" if Nest is wholly owned by Google. Nest data is Google data.

"Improving our products and services" is standard legalese for "to implement whatever new feature we want".

It just means that the privacy policy will be revised.

accept our TOS or prepare to freeze/burn up.

Their current policy doesn't permit them to share personal information with other entities or even "affiliates". They would probably need your consent to change this.

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.

I don't really see what they have access to privacy-wise that is any more intrusive than a smart-phone with a microphone and a GPS chip.

And if the NSA can target a huge company like Google, I bet Nest was child's play to infiltrate.

well, it's one thing to feel insecure knowing that people know where you are (cellphone/mic/GPS). But if you're attacked/ambushed/blackmailed/kidnapped, you can always fight for yourself, scream to attract attention, etc.

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."

Then we make products like the nest that sit in out houses with cameras in them, tie into facial recognition software and alert the police. Or, even better recognize that intruder is not on a white list and owners are not home and use automated home protection to disable them.

Those kinds of situations are the driving force of many thin a: warheads & bunkers and safes & crackers quickly come to mind.

If you actually care about the NSA and aren't just being glib, what's stopping them from collecting this data right now?

Is this about principle or you have actual privacy concerns about leaked thermostat / smoke alarm data? Maybe I am being unimaginative but I can't think of why I should care about the latter.

Nest thermostat can detect whether a home is occupied or not. I imagine this is the biggest cause for concern.

Same thing went through my mind when I discovered Google acquired Boston Dynamics.

I agree with "good for the Nest guys" but not "looked like a good product" and I don't mean that in a bad way, it may be a very well executed product but I cannot by any stretch of the imagination think why I would want my thermostat or smoke detector to be anything but stand-alone, dumb devices that do the one thing they were designed to do, and do it faultlessly.

Sadly, my exact thinking. I love my Nest. I do not love Google collecting statistical information from it. Which I am certain they will do, regardless of what they say to the contrary.

Damn, I really liked my Nest.

Well then, you're going to LOVE it once it's tied to your Google+ account! ;)

this made me laugh out loud.

Pretty much although the exact order was: 1) "holy crap that's a ton of money." 2) "well, good for the Nest guys." 3) "too bad, it looked like a good product." 4) "I wonder why Apple didn't buy them."

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.

So you are saying that Google bought the Nest guys, not the Nest product?

I'm saying that if you're near the top of the food chain at Nest, 2014 is probably going to be the start of many good years financially.

As for the product? Google's Reader product comes to mind.

I know everyone's still upset about Reader, but your post doesn't make any sense. Google didn't pay $3.2 billion dollars for a bunch of new employees.

They did not pay $3.2 billion for some employees, but for a company with a proven track record of creating great hardware. Why not let them develop more household hardware for the upcoming internet-of-things revolution (provided it does come), with Google on top?

Yes, it is doubtful that Google would up and kill a product they just paid $3.2B for.

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.

Really? $200 for a predictive thermostat, with a lame excuse to stream energy usage data and proximity data (Nest detects humans) out of your home? Id rather pay $99 to tell health insurance companies how often I exercise, live.

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.

I could get the same benefit from a device for $30 of electronics, and however many hours of my free-time I decide to put into such a project.

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.

> because they were too much trouble and came with 50 page instruction manuals in 5 different languages.

Just wondering - is there a problem with different languages?

Nothing. Just thought it captured the sentiment of obtuse manuals that manage to make what seems like a simple task overly complex.

Uh, good for you? That is not the value proposition, that is trivial information about your personal life. I don't know why you felt it necessary to try to duplicate a manufactured device by hand, but that is most certainly not the value proposition.

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.

I didn't duplicate anything. That was my rationale behind not doing what you suggested.

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?

Okay so, you're a troll. And one who doesn't understand what "value proposition" means.

I'm a troll because I pointed out how ridiculous his conceptualization of the price is? Ok, I am. With that kind of logic, you can justify spending $10,000,000 on a car because that's a fraction of the price of a manufacturing plant. That is not a "value proposition".

No. It's the opposite. You said I could duplicate the functionality for $30. I said that's only true if you believe the time you'd put into that exercise is worth less than $220.

I don't. But your circumstances may be different if you work for $1/day.

Does that mean you place no value on aesthetics or industrial design of a beautiful device? Don't get me wrong, I agree that it's overpriced, but I do at least place some value on a well-made device.

I'd pay a few dollars more, maybe. At the end of the day as long as it isn't garishly awful I don't particularly care.

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).

Wow. That is ugly.

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?

Honestly, I could be living in Bill Gates' house and I'd get the same thermostat. In fact, I'd be guaranteed to, since if I can afford that I can afford to squander some money on heating my home. I have one temperature that I'm comfortable at, and that's pretty much the end of the story. I think I've invested more time in this thread than I have interacting with my thermostat for the last year.

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.)

Well, ok, now I disagree :) (because up to now, I was agreeing with everybody.)

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.

Can't tell if serious...

I don't like the aesthetics, no. From a engineering perspective, it is not much of an achievement of R&D, imo. They probably paid more for their Photoshoppers.

> You could get the same benefit from a device for $30 of electronics.

… 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.

"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"

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.

The target audience of the Nest is someone who leaves their thermostat on the same temperature setting all the time, whose house is empty a significant portion of the time, and who doesn't have the knowledge or desire to buy a manually programmable thermostat. You don't sound like you are in that audience, but that doesn't mean the audience doesn't exist or that the product is foolish.

To give it the fairest possible test I will take your concerns to an optimistic extreme.

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.

You act like products can only be purchased with a credit card. That is not in fact the case.

Actually no, I acted like at a zero percent interest rate / zero opportunity cost (which is a little weird) it would take about nine years, and at a typical 30% credit card for your average poor dude was infinity. Everyone will fit somewhere within those bounds.

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.

A few things. First, it costs 250, not 300. Second, an alternative would be much cheaper, but it is non zero. Third, it provides other benefits than just potentially saving money such as a great user interface and apps with which to control it remotely.

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.

IMO, Nest appeals to the people for whom it does the least amount of good: engineers.

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.

Their marketing message is definitely not aimed at engineers:

"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."

I hate to reply to a reply, but if you'd like an example of saving 10% energy in a really cold area where bills are really high, lets take my sister, a 40hr a week worker where it got down to -30 during the recent cold snap. Now 70 - -30 = 100 degree delta T. Now the simple way to save 10% would be to permanently set the thermostat to 60F. But thats a bit chilly.

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.

Just to say it again, extreme cold is where a thermostat is of little help.

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).

Lowering the thermostat during warm weather saves a larger portion of the energy for that period.

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%.

The problem is that at 50 my furnace runs like 3 times a day because the house is built to be comfy down to -30, probably much worse (since it did OK at -20 last week). So you end up saving 25% of very little.

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.

Yeah, obviously the specifics matter.

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...).

It sounds like what you really mean is that this is not a product which you benefit from, because you work from home and your house is actually continuously inhabited most days; it's an amusing combination of arrogance and naivety to assume that your lifestyle is the only valid option.

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.

So we've got:

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.

I selected the points which were well defined enough to respond to:

> 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.

Realistically Nest is a luxury product and the rest is just rationalization. But luxury gadgets is a legitimate market.

Yes, but Apple's market not Google's...

I don't think this is strictly true. I believe rich and poor use Google search. Perhaps iOS and Android have different markets, but this acquisition will bring former iOS guys into the Google realm.

An interesting question is whether Google will keep it a luxury product.

This is exactly what I was thinking. They will use their resources to make it cheaper, mass manufacture them, and start selling them to next to nothing just to get the data. More power to 'em.

The price makes me choke as well. But I think Nest's real value is as a market distruptor, the evidence being Honeywell's lawsuit and furious attempts to update their own products with comparable features.

Everyone who's complaining about how much Nests costs have obviously not graduated from college tastes into the world of interior decorating. There is a huge market for nice looking stuff to go in your house. Not everyone buys Ikea for their whole lives. Maybe they host parties, run in upper middle class social circles, etc.

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.

Agreed. That's where it feels dissonant to me: Google addresses mega-mass markets rather than luxury, to the point it degrades their products. Look at email: Yahoo! has practically delivered "Gmail without the inconveniences"...

$200 is simply a terrible price fit. The rich buy $10k+ systems, the poor buy $20 units at Home Depot. There is no middle class in america, only credit.

> There is no middle class in America

... said someone in a forum occupied mostly by middle class people from America.

American software engineers are absolutely not middle class:

Median household income, 2008-2012 $53,046


If we're talking globally, software engineers are even further to the right end.

1. "Middle class" does not mean "median income".

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.)

That's a nice talking point for politicians, but it's not true. There is plenty of middle class in America.

Nest isn't disruptive: they don't offer an inferior product for a lower price.


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.

Well, Google might very well change the price point.

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.

You're certainly right that they kicked Honeywell in the rear. After years of making the same damned device, they finally released an actually nice thermostat. In fact, I was recently in the market for a new thermostat which I could control on my drive home, or from bed, or whatever. After researching thoroughly, and I opted for Honeywell's latest touchscreen device (over the Nest v2 which has apparently been having a lot of problems).

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.

You're misinformed.

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.



> You're misinformed.

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.

That's a shame. He probably misled quite a few people into buying the Honeywell by being the top review. He admittedly never owned a Nest, and that's obvious in his comparison, as not a single point in it is accurate; one must wonder where he came up with them having no first-hand experience.

* 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.

> That's a shame.

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?

Nest uses your HVAC's power wire like other thermostats. There are no batteries to replace.

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

Nest does have an internal battery than can be charge via a USB port if you ever need to. I bought my Nest used off Craigslist (substantial savings) and have never had any low battery issues. It's bus powered, but the battery smooths over power disruptions.

Using all sorts of fancy technology licensed from Honeywell.

Honeywell has not licensed any technology to Nest.

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.

The price that Nest charged for this as an independent company trying to make a profit may be very different from the price Google charges for it.

I made the money back heating my house in the bay area in 5 months. The Nest is just much better at using energy efficiently.

That's a savings of $60 on heating per month, for five months. The laws of thermodynamics continue to be enforced regardless of bubble or not, so I think it quite impossible to save more than 10%. So you're averaging $600 or more to heat. Averaging...

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?

They have a widget on the Nest store (https://widgets.nest.com/en/calculator/widget) that estimates energy savings. According to that, a $250/year savings is possible in SF with electric heating and a house over 2000 square feet. Though, the range they provide probably means:

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.

In the Bay Area, electricity is priced in tiers, so depending on your usage you can spend 50% of your bill on 10% of the electricity.


You can get a Nest thermostat for $150 if you get a rebate.

You are paranoid. That data isn't worth anything, certainly not billions of dollars.

Given Google's history with acquisitions, as a Nest owner, I'm not thrilled to hear this. Hopefully they let it run as independently as possible.

On the other hand, Android, Inc. was an acquisition with a similar purpose–to break into a new product space–and it grew into a fully-supported division. I don't think Google will treat this as an acquihire situation.

I wonder what their play is. One neat thing about Nest is that they are doing what many products failed to do before, and that's to kind of become a platform for the "internet of things." It's a thermostat and smoke detector now, but it could easily soon become more stuff, sensors and actuators, and it could easily all work together toward enabling a smarter home. Yes if you are a hardware/microcontroller geek you can get the same functionality for $100 but you will spend 100 hours on it and it will look vastly inferior to the Nest designs. It is also amazing how much more successful it could be than the million crappy little X10 and zigbee gadgets with their 1960s UX.

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.

Perhaps we'll see a return of Google Power Meter. That was an ambitious project to promote a data standard, towards the goal of better efficiency through consumers' close monitoring of their own power usage. But it failed to gain traction in the industry and Google did not double down. Until now. It seems they may now think that it is better to make transparent decisions automatically rather than by providing information for the consumer to take action on themselves. Power consumption is a large opportunity and one that Google understands from its data centre operations. Certainly it is hard to justify the cost of Nest on its current portfolio and acqui-hire alone.

>>what many products failed to do before, and that's to kind of become a platform for the "internet of things."

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.

They will have them make the robots produced by the other 7 companies they just bought look pretty and operate simply. At least, that's my hope. Nest team + hardcore robotics teams = potentially awesome stuff.

Sure, but do you think the probable future lifespan of a Nest v1 has gotten better or worse after this acquisition?

Google always shuts stuff down. Which is just a big laugh when its an internet application, but not so funny when its your thermostat. Anyone know what happens when GOOG shuts off the Nest system? Hopefully the thermostat reverts to at least a simple dumb mode rather than shutting everything off?

I doubt Google would shut down a $3,200,000,000.00 acquisition.

Please don't include decimals on that kind of number, it's intellectually dishonest.

Perhaps you should step away from your PC for a bit? Christ.

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.

$3.2M would be a truckload of money too, but on a Google scale, "This number is really enormous!" is a weak argument. $3.2B is less than 1% of their market cap. Relative terms are much more important than "how many zeros"; why, just recently, Google took a $150M loss in Q3'2012 on the Motorola division. They aren't afraid of 9-figure losses. Thus (IMO) $3.2B being a large number has little bearing on whether or not Google would be willing to take a writedown on Nest, for the right reasons.

? Only if you're incapable of telling the difference between commas and periods, I suppose.

It isn't factually dishonest, because it is an accurate number, and anyone can make sense of it.

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
It would still be accurate to say it was a $3,200,000,000.000,000,000,000 valuation, but I hope you will agree this is misrepresenting information.

Eh, guess we're going to agree to disagree there. Dollar figures having two decimal places at the end is pretty much a standard. If they included 3, yeah, that would reek of shiftiness. On top of that, all of the press releases I see don't even include the full amount written out, just "$3.2B".

This is known as "rhetoric". The art of making a point. For sure the zeroes are being written out in full to make the number look more impressive. And the cents are given for exactly the same reason! What else would they be there for?! Writing out large numbers in full is a valid tactic to make a point, just as is hiding all those zeroes away behind an abbreviation.

Nobody puts commas in the decimal places.

You might as well say that he shouldn't put any zeros there at all, because all those zeros make it more impressive than saying "3.2 billion".

decimals doesn't have commas, if you want to add 12 digits of precision then you should have to write: $3,200,000,000.000000000000 , also when writing down a money amount, those two extra digits are for the cents(exactly 2 digits of precision), It would be ultra weird to write with 1 or 3 digits of precision, or zero for that matter.

Maybe he thinks "3.2bn" is less impressive than the actual number, and is just righting a wrong. That would be a reasonable thing to believe.

You do know that many locales invert the meaning of the comma and period in that scenario, right?


I think it's pretty damn obvious what was meant by $3,200,000,000.00 no matter what locale you are in.

> ? Only if you're incapable of telling the difference between commas and periods, I suppose.

There's a reason people don't use Prolog...

It may be incorrect too, since the source only had 2 significant figures.

That's a 12 digit acquisition!

I'm not worried about a shutdown as much as I am worried about it going into maintenance mode like Google Voice.

That is a legitimate concern, however, the press release says this: "Nest will continue to operate under the leadership of Tony Fadell and with its own distinct brand identity."

For now.

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.

>While the Nest Thermostat doesn't require a Wi-Fi connection, additional features like remote control and automatic software updates are only available when the Nest Thermostat connects to the Internet

Is that a joke? Firmware update on a Thermostat?

Um, have you seen the thermostat in question? It has a user interface on it. Why wouldn't it support software updates?

Should be pretty easy to keep a large amount of the functionality online, the one thing that definitely wouldn't work is remote access through nest.com. Just controlling the HVAC system doesn't _require_ any web access, easy test to see what the impact of a hard shutdown by Google is to just disconnect your wireless router from the Internet.

Disconnect it from your network before they 'update' it.

This is more YouTube pricing so I don't see a problem with them keeping this running.

Can't wait to need a Google+ account to change the temperature in my house.

I'm happy for Nest but sad for myself, given the smoke detector was my Christmas gift last year.

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.

Had Apple bought nest, you'd have to log into your icloud account to manage it, via your idevice, with no other management abilities available. Apple is absolutely horrible at playing well with others.

I'm ok with that. My issue with Google isn't Single-Sign-On, it's forcing every product into a social-network mold.

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.

You missed my point. If apple controlled nest, you'd almost certainly only get notifications if you were using an idevice of some sort. Apple's terrible about working with others to create industry standards; the AppleTV for example would be a lot more useful if it used DLNA for streaming instead of Apple's proprietary format.

I think you're missing his/her point. The problem nostromo has is not proprietary formats but social networks. I think the worry is updates like "John Doe turned the temperature in his house to 75!" (and while that fear is overstated, it's not unreasonable to not want products that can detect the presence of humans in your bedroom connected to social networks).

Google+ doesn't really have to be a social network. There's nothing social about my use of G+, and I use it pretty frequently.

Can't you create a Google Plus account without adding any friends so that it's only used a Single-Sign-On?

You can almost certainly do this... until you annoy them, and they pull some "real name TOS" BS on you and disable your thermostat until you send them a scan of your driver's license.

I like that we all have a wonderful opportunity to bash Google, and you turn this around and bash Apple instead. Tsk tsk...

He asked wistfully what would happen if Apple had bought it. I answered that pretty much all the big players are motherfuckers that want you to do everything in their sandbox. Now, you may consider Apple's motherfuckery to be more acceptable than Google's, but they still engage in serious acts of motherfuckery.

With the exception of using iCloud, this is already how I manage my Nest. So?

Not everybody owns an idevice.

You don't want your G+ friends automatically notified when you burn dinner? Or will it be targeted ads for delivery pizza?

If you decide to go out to eat, your self-driving car will take you to TacoBell. Only TacoBell.

A pizza ad ringing while my dinner is still smoldering would at least make me laugh.

I'd still look at YouTube as an acquisition done right. How long has it taken for Google to introduce something that you don't love re: YouTube? At this point, all Google decisions related to YouTube have to be considered independent of the acquisition.

Well content ID is one thing that was unneeded and harmful. Also this video is not available in your country. So not that long. Circa 2007 maybe?

I was mainly referring to the commenter who said the G+ issues being his first problem with the YouTube acquisition. If that was your first major issue, I'd call the acquisition a success. Also, how much of content ID was YouTube covering it's bases legally with the DCMA? I guess, are there easier ways they could have been compliant while being less irritating to users like yourself? I honestly don't know.

If Apple bought Nest they would have killed the Android app.

The cynic in me shudders at the possibility of Google adding even more real-world data like temperature preference and lifestyle factors to their massive data portfolio.

The idealist in me is incredibly excited at the possibility of Nest's fundamental strengths being bolstered by Google's coffers.

Am I the only one that doesn't get chills up their spine whenever Google breaks into some new market? I see very little possible misuse of temperature preference (of all things...) and very great possible gains.

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.

What about the ability to know when someone is in your home and when someone is not?

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.

I'm not really worried about subpoena of my data- if the courts want it, they will get it. I'd be more concerned about what private companies are going to do with it. I know the gov't is the big bogeyman in most people's minds, but sometimes I swear private corps. have even less accountability than the gov't.

This all breaks down to one thing. The government can detain you indefinitely and is equipped to kill you. No private enterprise can do either of these things legally.

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.

What exactly are you wishing for here? That the government be prevented from accessing information on you under all circumstances? To my knowledge, a subpoena is usually pretty reasonable circumstances, and it was subpoenas specifically that we were discussing. If you feel otherwise, I would like to hear more.

Subpoenas are irrelevant when they are siphoning all the data they can get their hands on through programs like PRISM enabled by Patriot act.

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.

Wait until the day that Google announces that they're opening up their entire database of search histories in the name of transparency. It will be an opt-out initiative where those wishing to keep their data out of the open will have to pay a monthly "processing and maintenance fee" to "manually" remove your entries from the database.

The parent's point was that courts can only get data that are in Google's possession. Every time you give sensitive data to a third party, you make it easy for the government to get their hands on it.

Nest already recorded temperature changes so they could give you a handy chart. So it was already subpoenaable?

Exactly. I don't care if the government knows when I'm home (they can already figure that out), but imagine if Google's database of Nest info got leaked.

Burglars could look at the database and say "Oh hey, look, no one's home right now."

Do you really think burglars could not get their hands on leaked government agency database?

This is just another excuse to throw feces at Google, and HN commenters just don't miss any possible opportunity to do that.

strawman and goalposts. PP said google's database, not government databases.

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

Calling that a Google data breach is a pretty big misrepresentation; keyloggers installed on user machines collected passwords typed into a number of websites, including Google's.

(disclaimer: I work for Google, have no special knowledge of the incident in question)

Then the absolute safest thing to do is never give any information to any third party for any reason.

Except that's impossible to actually implement, or manage, and makes your life so much harder for questionable benefit.

This acquisition makes me a little bit nervous, but I have to point out that the database can be stolen or leaked no matter who is responsible for it.

I guess that the threat of being abducted by aliens is higher than burglars successfully hacking Google to get information on when you are not at home.

Databases get leaked publicly all the time. Look at the recent instagram leak.

>imagine if Google's database of Nest info got leaked.

Don't see how the acquisition changed the value of that data. Do you really think Nest has better data security than Google?

The "bad guys" (I assume we're talking about government types) can park outside your house or just lean on the electric/gas company for that info already. Or considering how some people broadcast their location with Twitter/Foursquare/Facebook/Etc, just watch that.

Parking outside your house requires that they have enough interest in you to dedicate resources to the task. The electric/gas meter in your house is not literally designed to detect when there is a human home and when there is not.

Nest really isn't great for that either, aside from what I'd call an adaptive timer based on how you adjust it.

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.

> Nest really isn't great for that either, aside from what I'd call an adaptive timer based on how you adjust it.

What about the auto-away feature?

Depends entirely on where it's located in your home. I've tried and sold a Nest because my home thermostat is upstairs, and the only thing upstairs are bedrooms. During the day, there's nothing to trip the sensor.

Your phone makes a much better tracker for such things.

What did you replace it with? The nice thing about connected devices is that, well, they're connected. My Nest is also not somewhere I typically walk by during the day. That's alright, I have a $10 motion sensor in another room I do use, and in 5 minutes set up a rule on my home automation hub that sets my Nest to "home" when that sensor is tripped. That's only possible since Nest is internet-connected and has an API.

Nothing equivalent. I just replaced it with the standard programmable timer thermostat that was there before I got the Nest. It was partly the fact that the presence detection wasn't working for me, and partly the fact that I had a sudden cash flow problem and was still within the return window :)

I haven't invested the time into setting up a proper home automation rig yet, but it is on my to-do list.

This is already incredibly easy with Android in the fold. They know your WiFi passwords. Of course they know when you're home.

Android tracks your location for Google Now too. Actually they handily name your home location "home", and let you set it if they get it wrong. I've heard Apple do something similar now as well, so we can probably assume the average person's location history is easily subpoenable through Google or Apple.

Google already knows your location. Readings from your home electronics only enrich this data and make it more reliable.

The Nest contains some sensors (not 100% sure what type, a microphone and some type of motion sensor would be my guess though) used to determine whether you're home or not for their auto-away feature, so they get a little more than just your temperature preferences.

If I remember correctly the device senses when you walk near it.

> I see very little possible misuse of temperature preference (of all things...) and very great possible gains.

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.

It would make it really easy for the DEA to figure out who the home pot growers are. Yeah you can look at utility bills in isolation but that generates a lot of false positives: people might just like to keep their house cold or warm (depending on the climate).

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!

...although many high-volume operations that are based inside of residential properties tend to use illegal/'off the grid' (so to speak) electrical connections...

Or you can install a bunch of solar panels and use them to power LEDs without ever connecting them up to the house's on-grid wiring system. That negates the need to permit it all and making that power usage completely invisible.

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!

Temperature preference is surely less interesting to them than when you are home (i.e. actively cooling/warming the house)

> I see very little possible misuse of temperature preference

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.

First, somehow I don't think Google is going to do this. This is a company that keeps a multimillion dollar liability on their front page (the "I'm feeling lucky" button) out of culture and deference to tradition.

Secondly, what you suggest really isn't even misuse.

So.. if you tend to keep your house on the cool side, expect to see more banner ads for slippers, sweaters and housecoats.

After the whole PRISM/NSA/GCHQ scandal I think there were two roads to take: make your internet life as secure and private as possible (I tried this, it was boring and probably futile) or realise that keeping information private is only going to get more and more difficult. If you come to the latter realisation as I eventually did things like this might excite you. The more info Google has on me the more exciting and useful it's products will be. I'm particularly excited about the future of Google Now.

Instead of giving up altogether, I suggest a different approach: choose your enemies and compartmentalize your personal data.

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.

>> "future hypothetical returns may be matched by improvements that don't require so many privacy invasions"

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!

  Google Analytics 
   └ Audience 
     └ Interests 
       └ Other 
         └ Ambient Temperature Preferences

lol ... I can see the ads now:

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?

Nest can't really act as a server for anything; it has insufficient power supply, probably under a watt. It can't even run its own tiny LCD screen on the power supplied by HVAC wiring. It uses that to charge an internal battery to run the screen when needed, and otherwise only partially wakes to poll the network occasionally.

Good point, though I'm not sure how often a server needs to operate yet. I suppose I wasn't suggesting that Google should abandon the cloud and put servers in people's homes -- if anything, Nest has a pretty Google-ish architecture. We all know that Android with wifi and BLE is Google's most likely "home server" at this point -- that and whatever Nest comes up with next, including those more powerful smoke detectors.

Kind of makes me sick of my stomach.

"You might be interested in: Fire Damage Repair - Specialists In Cleaning Fire Damage‎"

Why might I be interes... OH MY GOD!!

Imagine the value Google will be able to provide advertisers correlating regional temperature preferences/settings and purchasing habits / levels. Homes that set their thermostat to 72 degrees during the winter months in the Midwest = Lexus ads or tropical vacation ads, 64 to 72 degrees = Toyota ads, less than 64 = [some brand or store] ads for bed comforters.

ADD: And then in summer months... setting at 72 or less = Mercedes ads, 72 - 77 = mid income ads, > 77 = Fans and air conditioner ads.

The temperature preference can't be too exciting - I can imagine them crunching the data only to discover... most people like 68F or a little warmer! The motion detector is more interesting, since then in principle the device can make guesses about what your schedule implies about you ('works night shift'=='security guard', 'leaves house Sunday morning by 9'=='churchgoer' etc.), but I would have thought that kind of data would leak out of your email and online social.

Environment control is an excellent complement to self-driving cars, especially if/when they become ubiquitous.

I can see the google advertisements now. Spending too much on your heating/cooling? Save big at Acme heating & cooling.

Better yet, they could add a microphone to the thermostat and smoke detector, and then the content of your speech for analysis.. to be used in advertisements. Yes, I'm talking about AdWords for conversations!

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."

"Google Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG) announced today that it has entered into an agreement to buy Nest Labs, Inc. for $3.2 billion in cash."

Can that be right? $3.2 billion? That's a crazy huge sum.

There were articles a week ago about them raising $150 million in a new round of funding, with a valuation of $2-3 billion. So this isn't out of nowhere. Also, they raised $80 million a year ago, at a valuation of $800 million. (Incidentally, Google Ventures led that funding round, so at least some of this purchase price is just Google moving money around internally.)


Sounds like super-higher bubbly valuation to me. They were already valued at 70x their revenues a year ago at $800 million valuation:


They have paying customers. It matters.

Helen of Troy which owns Kaz, which owns Honeywell (one of the largest businesses specific to Nest's thermostat space) has a market cap of $1.7bil - http://finance.yahoo.com/echarts?s=HELE - that's why this sounds crazy.

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.

Sounded odd to me so I checked it out.

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:


Touche! Good point.

Definitely brings more sense to the 3.2b price tag.

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.

HoT/Kaz only produce products for the Honeywell brand. They do not own Honeywell, which is a Fortune 100 company.

I like how this 1.7B publicly traded co has a wordpress engine running their site.

Go look at the Berkshire Hathaway website.

There's something to be said for knowing what value a website brings to your business and building it to the appropriate level.

Yeah but Nest's thermostats are to Honeywell's products what the iPhone was to Nokia's product line in 2007/2008.

Nest has customers who have paid it, it does not have paying customers. There is no ongoing fee despite every device Nest sells being connected to its servers 24/7/365. It takes no more than ~3 seconds for any changes you make on their web/mobile apps to reach the thermostat, so it has to be at least checking in with a server constantly.

I don't think that a 24/7 network connection of a customer that just paid $249 for a thermostat is that much of an monetization issue for a company like Google. (for comparison: more than 1 billion Android devices are currently connected to their servers 24/7/365)

Not a lot of screen real estate for ads on a Nest...

Well in addition to the color LCD, they do have speakers so Google could do audio ads.

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.

Also, I could definitely see myself buying Lord of the Rings in the Google Books store and reading it on the Nest.

This could provide the ideal way of monetizing this platform in the future.

Surely the updates are sent via some form of push. Polling on that scale would be obscene.

Yet that's what I believe it does. Every few seconds, Nest sends an HTTP POST to their servers with its serial number. If there are any commands waiting for that thermostat (change temperature initiated from an app for example), they get sent in response, otherwise the connection is closed.

That's the client pulling, not the server pushing. Pushing would be "when the owner makes a change on the website, notify the appropriate thermostat to change its settings". This would be way more efficient, but too many Nests aren't going to have suitable internet connections.

Perhaps you misread "yet" as "yes". I'm curious if there's a power issue as well. I don't know how fast wifi can turn on/off and reconnect to a network. Nest has to be low-power as its only power source is one of the tiny wires from the HVAC system and that doesn't supply enough to run the device offline, let alone online. It uses that wire to charge an internal battery instead.

I did make exactly that misreading; sorry!

My opinion of Nest just plummeted. That's absurdly wasteful.

That sounds a bit hyperbolic. I think you're overreacting. The difference between this and long-polling in terms of hardware required is pretty minimal. I run a web stats service that has to deal with similar kinds of data -- millions of sites "pinging" it with a new page view to record constantly -- with one crappy server. Nest doesn't even have to record anything in response to those pings, unlike my server, just compare to some in-memory table of which devices have commands waiting for them, so most connections can be immediately disposed of.

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.

Nope; if you have a device in people's houses you basically have to configure them to pull. NATs and other connectivity tricks mean they can reliably initiate communication with you but not the other way around.

I'm intimately familiar with the relevant issues. That the client initiates the connection does not make it "pull", you're confusing distinct issues. Push is almost always implemented with long-lived connections initiated by the client side which remain idle save for periodic keepalives until there is actual data to transmit.


Google already has massive server deployment around the world – the incremental cost of keeping some sockets open seems unlikely to noticeably increase load when they already have Android, Chrome, Google Talk, etc.

I do love their strategy where if you already own a Nest thermostat, buying the Nest Protect smoke detector makes your old product work better. Very clever.

Those servers could be paid for with some simple advertisements keyed to the information reported by the thermostat...

And the realistic potential to be in every home around the world.

$3000 per thermostat sold.

They sold a million Nests??

Well, they've definitely shipped over a million, can't speak to what's been sold. Though I expect that they've achieved that as well.

Oh really, that's impressive.

A lot better than paying $4b for Snapchat.

Very surprised Apple didn't purchase this. Headed by Tony Fadell, brilliant design, I thought it would fit and be a nice diversification for them. However it will be very interesting to see what Google does with this. If I put away the cynic in me for a moment: the more data Google has on me the better their services are for me. I could imagine the Nest thermostat integrating with Google Now and the location data Google has on me for example to better now my comings and going.

Google Ventures backed much of the company. So I doubt the VCs would let Apple make a lowball bid for the company (typical of Apple acquisitions). Plus Apple is never known to leave a company running, instead fully integrating it and all of the employees into some already functioning group (think iWatch).

^^^^^^^^ So much of this. What I see happening is integration with Now - the system already knows when I leave work and when I leave home, and how long my commute is probably going to be. Instead of a dumb timer, it can adjust the controls based on that information.

I doubt Tony Fadell wants Jony Ive to tell him what to do.

I would've been surprised if Apple had bought them. They strike me as a highly NIH outfit.

Perhaps Google bought them because Apple did try to make a bid. Hence the inflated price...

Apparently Google was the only serious bidder and Apple was not in the mix. Source: http://recode.net/2014/01/13/google-acquires-nest-for-3-2b/

Seriously not trying to troll, but could someone help explain where Google might see 3.2 billion dollars of value in a company that pretty much just sells a successful thermostat?

Google's core competency: know everything. Look at anything Google does from that perspective.

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).

Integration with Google Now would seem like the logical next step.

Google's tried to get into this "smart home" game before with limited success[1]. I'd assume this may get them a leg up.

[1]: http://www.google.com/powermeter/about/

Yeah I feel like 3b of that 3.2b was for their product designers. Google could probably make these products from an engineering standpoint.

How many product designers do they have?

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.

It's an attempt to get in on the internet of things, which is predicted to be the next megatrend.

I work for a company that does power monitoring on a circuit by circuit level for homes and small businesses. Once you get your device on the internet 24/7 you can get into the automation business pretty quickly.

You can determine a lot about locations looking at their usage. Targeted adds, plus it ads value to their smart phones.

Nest knows if you're hot. If you're cold. When you've set it to turn off because you're at work. It knows if you're energy conscious or cost sensitive. Etc. There's a ton of behavior in there, making it far more than a thermostat you buy at Home Depot.

Blinking ads on your thermostat? Web ads targeted at people with high energy usage? Converting all nest.com users to G+? Who knows ...

Smart Grid tech has still yet to make the splash it's capable of. Google has been investing in many alternative energy production projects worldwide. To accurately predict and shape grid demand you'd need a bunch of sensors in the homes, quite like Nest products. I can see it being part of their planned foray into energy projects.

Google has a long history of paying to acquire talent. I assume this isn't any different. Nest made an extremely popular in-home device; Google wants to buy that mojo.

This price should be worth a system instead of a product or a series of products. If they can create a complete system for home management, that will make more sense.

connected devices

Do they have anything else other than the thermostat and smoke detector?

Not yet, but bear in mind that "microcontroller thermostat" is not a new concept, nor are "connected thermostats", "connected blinds", or "connected lights".

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).

I'm pretty sure they do, in development. But even if they don't, it's a growing huge market.

They monitor for presence. Combine the phone's attempt at geolocation with motion detectors or whatever to make even finer grained geolocation.

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.

Do you think Google doesn't already know who is in the "frozen North"? How could knowing how long your furnace runs add any value, at all, for you as an advertising target, if we must always go with that utterly simplistic analysis?

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.

Cut and paste from the nest website:

"Activity sensors

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?

Conveniently enough, they sell a device to help with that. "In addition, the Nest Protect activity sensors improve the Auto-Away feature of your Nest Thermostat." (Nest Protect is their smoke detector.)

Yes. I'm not a huge fan of the product in general or the financial deal BUT I will say this aspect of the product is genius in that you want an auxiliary sensor aka the smoke detector right where people spend most of their time, bedrooms and offices and such. There are serious problems with the overall situation, but no sarcasm, the specific situation of this product pairing is a work of genius. I don't think that one idea makes up for the other problems, but credit it due them for this.

> To my knowledge it has no such thing

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."


Nest has a motion sensor, which appears to be a passive infrared light sensor. It's behind the grill hidden in the bottom 1/4 of the device below the screen. It uses this for the Auto-Away feature for example.

They have a beloved and trusted brand name. That's worth something right there.

The next and obvious step for Nest is home security devices. They clearly have a fairly capable design team, and have already achieved surprising namespace for home electronic devices.

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.

Please, please Google... don't spam me about starting a Google+ account when I'm just trying to turn the temp down a few degrees. I beg you.

And I beg all HN users to stop doing Google+ jokes as they're just as unfunny as they're unoriginal.

I'm not convinced they're as much jokes as real concerns by people who have already been burned by this (see: YouTube -- I'm not going to argue about whether or not G+ integration has made these products better, but it's not unreasonable to not want your real-name associated with comments you made under a pseudonym, and to be so annoyingly pestered to do so!)

Google+ is Google's social layer. Commenting is an inherently social activity and it makes sense to have a common layer i.e. G+ here to handle them. Changing the temperature is not a social activity.

So no the jokes are not real concerns and are mostly silly intellectually lazy exaggerations.

God forbid

FYI Google Ventures participated in 2 of Nest's funding rounds, including leading their series C last year.

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.

Smart buy in my opinion. The connected home has enormous untapped growth potential, and they just acquired a company that managed to take something as mundane as a thermostat and make it cool.

At least there's a cost savings angle to an intelligent thermostat.

The connected smoke alarm as a cool object really amazed me - it's where new business models are made.

Exactly. Walk the aisles at your local home improvement store. Find every product that you interact with that is under $20. You can probably make that amazing for $50-100. And what's that in terms of how much people spend on houses?

It would be a fun list. Humidifiers have always annoyed me.

Someone at google is thinking of ways to use Google Plus to fuck up Nest.

Has google hired a lot of MBA's recently, because it look an awful lot like they are trying to cross-pollinate their main business lines, to improve vertical integration and uptake.

It sure does. Hopefully they can find a way to optimize the backwards overflow which is sure accompany these changes.

Do you use more or less energy than your friends in your circles? Gamification?

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".

Argh, I was just about to buy some Nest Protects, but I don't want Google sensors built into my house.

Agree. sometimes it feels there is no escaping google's watch

It's awesome for the folks at Nest, but the first thought through my head was this : I am so starting a smart lawn sprinkler controller company!

Oh please do. Irrigation systems have the clunkiest, most error prone interfaces I have ever used.

I had the same thought, as that seems to be an overlooked market. After some research, I found a few: check out Greenbox http://www.greenboxhq.com and Lono http://lonoapp.com for a couple of smart sprinkler startups.

$3.2b makes me think there has to be some awesome technology that they own or pipeline, as I can't get excited about the thermostat. It is a great idea, and played with one a bit, but it isn't solving any large HVAC issues - the thermostat is simply an on/off switch for the real working hardware in your basement/outside.

So, what else do they do that makes Google want to pay $3+ billion (pinkie to lip) for Nest?

They have figured out how to do marketable home automation devices and how to navigate getting them certified by UL and the like.

Coming soon: audio ads, broadcast throughout your home via your Nest Protect. Since it knows if you're moving, it can wait and play the ad when it knows you're there, allowing Google to charge a higher cost per impression.

Yes, just like all those ads from that mobile device that people carry with them everywhere, has a screen and speakers, and knows when you're moving all the time instead of just while moving directly in front of the thermostat.

> just like all those ads from that mobile device that people carry with them everywhere, has a screen and speakers

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.

Sounds silly, but people pay Tivo a subscription fee every month and they pack that thing full of ads.

The only ads on Tivo that I can remember is a single line item on the home screen, and this was almost always for some VOD service.

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.

Yep. Here's the ad sales page which goes through all the various options, including showing ads on the pause screen and including ads when you delete a show and in the menu that lists your episodes of a show. It's gross.


(Your ad blocker may stop that page from working properly.)

Auugh.. thanks for the heads up. I can cross a new Tivo off the list of things I want, then. Part of the reason I bought that device was to skip ads...

I've had TiVos for as long as I can remember (> 10 years). I've always bought the lifetime subscriptions - beating the monthly fee many times over, and the ads are extremely minimal and unobtrusive.

As far as DVRs go - I'm still convinced they're the best I've seen.

The Nest UI (web and mobile) is laughable horrible. Only has about 2 weeks historical data. Doesn't record what means a temp was adjusted (web? Phone? Nest?). Doesn't do any sort of trending long term or historical analysis. Charts overlay clicking points so you can see some data. Doing my own analysis it ended up using more energy than my manual changes. So I don't even use autoschedule.

It's not a talent acquisition. It's not a move towards more government monitoring. It's not meant to increase G+ sign-ups or sell ads for more efficient furnaces.

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.

Coming Soon: Google+ Integration w/ Your Nest Thermostat

No heat for you if you don't upload a profile pic. That will drive up engagement I bet.

I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that. Only users who use their real name on G+ are allowed to change the temperature

The real winners are DST Global and the others who bought round D and got what looks like a 50% return on $150 million in about 2 weeks.

For once I can understand the pricing and think its in fact cheap.

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.

> Nest has a realistic potential to be in "every" home if not the actual hardware then the underlying intelligence.

I really don't think so. Many homes haven't even upgraded to a $20 programmable thermostat, let alone a $200 nest.

The only way Nest will have on in every home is by aggressively enforcing bogus patents against everyone who makes anything even remotely similar. We should cheer for that?

I think you are missing the bigger picture here.

It's not about the thermostat its about the ecosystem its part of.

And I did write "every" :)

Oh come on this has to stop. How much would it have cost Google to build Nest from scratch? Not 3.2 billion dollars.

Wrong question. How much time would it cost Google to build Nest from scratch?

They failed with Google Video. Well, they manage to build the second biggest video sharing site, with millions of users. But nevertheless they had to buy YouTube and merge it.

The team has to count for something here. It's not just a few geeks who built an app. It's guys with lots of experience building incredibly successful products. Google doesn't have a lot of experience in hardware design. Nest do.

On the hardware design side of things, they did kinda sorta buy Motorola Mobility. It really seems that they've under capitalized on that purchase- and that was 12 billion dollars!

It's not the tech, it's the install/customer base.

How large is the installed base? It appears to be small for smart thermostats and even smaller for Nest.


Would it really take $3.2b to engineer a product similar to Nest and market it to an even wider audience? I'm happy for Nest guys, but the number is a bit ridiculous.

You also get Tony Fadell, which is pretty damn huge. It’s almost like acquiring a Forstall company.

I would have been a Nest customer, now I won't be. Oh well.

I'm really surprised. I thought Nest was Tony Fadell's vehicle to make it back into Apple.

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.

There's been a product on the market for several years called "TED" ... something seemed fishy when Google killed the data monitoring service ... http://www.google.com/powermeter/. Still ... you have the power (so to speak) to meter your own appliances. Yes you.

Mine is still in the box :(.

smart phone > smart car > smart house > ... ? ... > smart human

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 know this makes me sound like a terrible luddite or hipster or both, but I've been thinking about all of these smart devices and services and how they may have a somewhat infantalizing impact on people.

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.

Well, that depends on your point of view. In your case, we let outside factors start having a majority say in decisions we used to make ourselves. In essence, you're fearing that we're handing away control of our lives to data models and analyzing algorithms. Go figure that I often use Google to check the spelling/usage of words/idioms, rather than learning it by heart.

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.

We can figure out what to eat. But it takes time. Imagine that you want to personalize your diet. Take certain ammounts of protein, calories, fat, etc... It would take lots of time if you would prepare a weekly plan for yourself. Thats a good Idea.

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).

I don't know, it might be nudging you to being oblivious in a different direction. Encapsulation is generally about ignorance, and if you have a robot designing your macro-nutrient intake for you, then you can wind up oblivious to what is actually in your food.

Please educate yourself on choice paralysis and its implications, learn about the fundamental reasons (cognitive capacity, cognitive bias, etc) and only then worry about our wonderful, adapting, intelligent species.

I know you're trying to be helpful, but "please educate yourself" is almost never a constructive or helpful phrase.

We can do better than that here.

Yeah, honestly, I wasn't entirely constructive and that was wrong.

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.

The only possible way this acquisition make sense is that Nest has some truly amazing product in the pipeline. It is impossible to justify 3.2 Billion for a team or thermostats. My guess is they wanted to get acquired because some future product make sense to have Google's brand and go to market ability.

A friend is currently working for an intrusive home management solution that certain telecoms are to unleash on the unsuspecting Germans. All internet of things stuff, all remote. It will be sold with internet subscription. The root capabilities will be in telco and not the home owner.

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.

So will they shut it down like they did when bought sparrow or bump?

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.

I wish we lived in a world where Google can be trusted with all of this personal data because they could do lots of interesting things to make lives easier and create more wealth for everybody.

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.

Now you can +1 your temperature!

oh jesus

Google should have negotiated for a $3.141 billion price.

The 60 million dollar joke.

I have a feeling I'll be ripping the Nest off of my wall in no time.

"We've noticed that you're currently freezing your toes off...would you like to search instead for 'HVAC'?"

Fucking creepy.

I find this creepy as well. The fact I was considering purchasing one gives me an ill feeling now.

I think folks are too focused here on Google caring about the temperature in your house. I suspect Nest's hw/sw/design chops will come in very handy when putting together say the experience of a self driving car?

Great. Now I'll have to listen to an ad before my fire alarm goes off.

Do they own patents or something?

Because with a $10 android chip, any Chinese plant could churn out Nest clones in a few months.

The tricky part is getting it on the shelves at Home Depot or Lowes.

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.

Home Depot and Lowes both sell private-label home automation products. They could buy the equipment from the Chinese and slap their own brands on it.

... I'm glad I haven't bought one yet. Now I need to figure out how to build an open source one.

Google offers you 3 billi, you take it. That's what I always say.

You wouldn't take 3 billion from someone else?=)


I don't think you can improve a google product without sharing more data.

Nest has a post on their blog about this as well if you're interested: https://nest.com/blog/2014/01/13/nest-google-and-you/

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'm relieved that Apple didn't buy them. In that case, they'd have certainly either a) discontinued the Android version, or b) created a cross-platform app like iTunes.

Nest has built an expensive thermostat that is engaging. It certainly doesn't take $80 Million to do that. So perhaps they also spent their money developing a cheaper version after proving that people like it and more importantly proving it can save money and eventually pay for itself.

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?

Ugh, our industry needs more owners, not less.

Well, that should resolve their patent issues.

That had to have been a big headache for them: http://www.theverge.com/2012/4/12/2942861/nest-answers-paten...


Honeywell sued them. Google must have enough defensive patents to use against Honeywell to make them go away. Terrible, of course, but that's the way the world works.

$3.2 BILLION All-Cash offer.

Is that Color-level valuation for a Thermostat company?

Or more like Instagram-level... Holy Moly!

Nest has great hardware designers (which Google lacks) and engineers. Nest first built a hardware/ software platform that enables them to in the future build other smart appliances and home automation tools. The thermostat was simply the first product.

I don't know a lot about Nest, but I understand that requests to the thermostat are made from the phone app indirectly through a central server?

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.

Main advantage is that you can control it from outside the home, which is a selling point of the Nest. That's actually the main point of the app, since the device itself also has a UI that's probably easier to use if you just want to adjust the temperature.

I used that indirection to turn the heat up for my cat while on vacation, knowing that a big ice storm was coming. Couldn't do that if it only worked on the LAN.

Actually puzzled : Why would the cat need it warmer indoors if there's an ice storm? Isn't keeping it at the same temperature enough? Or is the problem because the heating switches off overnight, so you feel that it needs a boost during the day to compensate? Isn't that something that a smart thermostat should cope with?

Boosting it means if the power goes out for a few hours and the temperature drops 20 degrees in the house it goes from 70 to 50, not 50 to 30.

Protects the pipes, too.

well, stick in a fork in Nest then.

wonder how bad their financials were when they're already selling.

fucking SnapChat refused a FB offer, but Nest just rolls over and dies.

What you meant to say was that nest isn't run by idiots that are stupid enough to turn down a 3 billion dollar offer.

well, but for a moment it seemed that fadell really wanted to build something great and lasting, building his own vision.

turns out it's just another boring let's get rich story.

This might be a minority opinion, but I think more than home data collection (which they probably have a lot of already from phone / computer usage), that this is about acquiring a company that has cache and a 'cool' factor within both the design world and more importantly the market sector of young tech inclined home owners - a hugely lucrative market.

Theoretically, Google could now be remotely adjusting your room temperature to maximize (or minimize) the effectiveness of advertising. [1]

[1] http://anzmac.info/conference/2013/bestpapers/anzmac2013-364...

I hate to be that guy, but I think if Google's plan really is to tackle tech in the home, it probably isn't going to work out. The attempt to better integrate technology with common household devices and appliances is nothing new [1]. Most of the previous attempts over the last 20 years have have been met with limited success.

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?

[1] http://www.internetnews.com/xSP/article.php/1489021

This will give Google access to a very idiosyncratic data set no other major tech company has. It will be interesting to watch how they influence the product line over the coming years, as well as what they do in terms of integration with other google services.

In a not-so-strange way this fits well with their recent robotics acquisitions. It really feels like lightning could strike a second time for google so long as they don't middle manage themselves out of it.

Wow. This weekend I was talking about Nest with my dad and I said Google will end up buying them. Interesting to see that it's an all cash transaction. I guess all cash makes the deal cheaper for Google.

So that means you'll have to have a google plus account, older than 13, and use an interface that use a protocol that replaces snmp but that is propriwtary to google, just to change the twmperature?

So perhaps being able to dissect nearly every aspect of a users online life is not enough for Google, now they want to offer a range of devices that can start recording the minucia of everyday home life.

As a Nest owner this creeps me out.

Google should NOT have always-on sensors of any type.

Finally a tech company with enough good sense to realize that if you get a buyout offer that starts will "b" and ends with "illions", you take the money!

On one hand google having more information is unsettling but at the same time it could lead to some interesting possibilities. In the summer my nest kicks the AC on at about 4:45 assuming that I will get home sometime around 5pm. But say I go afterwork to have a beer or drink coffee and stay out until 8pm. Nest knowing where my phone is means it could be smart enough to not turn my AC on until I am headed home.

$3.2 billion?

Yep. Think of it as 3.2 instagrams.

Or 2 youtubes.

Hmm, I wonder if this will make a security system (like canary http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/canary-the-first-smart-hom...) more or less likely. I assumed that would be the next product from Nest.

On the face, appears to be a huge valuation for an overpriced thermostat and smoke alarm. But combined with their recent robotic acquisitions I wonder if this signals a move beyond the smart phone, and smart car, to the smart home? If Google engineers want to build the Star Trek computer, surely they want to build the Jetsons home.

Well, I guess that's one reason/excuse why Nest turned me down a summer internship when I applied last November.

When do we start getting ads on the Thermostat? Or ads on our browser asking us why we are spending so much time at home?

This doesn't make a whole lot of sense to me. Besides the fact that Nest is a great product (But so are Triscuits), why would Google buy them? The Nest _does_ know when you are home. If Google starts to use Nest data to target adds at me, I'm going to rip it out, set it on fire, and mail it to Larry.

All I can say is that KPo is a beast, and he's totally why Google paid such a large sum of money for Nest.

Time to add thermostats and smoke detectors to all those blog posts about "de-Googling" your life...

$3.2 BILLION?! Was Nest Labs making a profit? Seemed to me like they made cool devices that no one bought.

They were shipping 50k thermostats a month over a year ago. Combine a heat-up in home automation interest this year with some very fancy endcaps they've placed in Home Depot (the thermostat and smoke detector, with interactive demo videos), they're probably selling much better today.

I was hoping Honeywell would buy them an experience a bit (at the division level) of a NeXT-Apple replay. I really am not sure about buying one given the implications of the data from this device being given to advertisers or used in advertising analytics.

"To change the temperature of your master bedroom, please create a google+ account."

Maybe we'll finally see Android @ Home become a reality


Maybe Google will push Nest to comply with the GPL terms? They're currently missing the (required by GPLv2) build/install stuff from their source code releases... I've been unable to get root on mine so far :(

Oh great.

You have set a temperature of 65°F. Share your climate preferences your Google+ circles?

My thought on the topic, after being shocked at the price, was that Apple must have some home automation products as their next big thing.

3.2B to head off Apple from creating the "iPod of home automation" is still a bargain.

Was there anything similar (as an amount of cash in the deal) in the last 10 years? Probably Microsoft's acquisition of Nokia's phone division? Is there a list somewhere, that would be interesting to see.

"It smells like you've burned your dinner. Would you like to order Dominos for delivery?"

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.

Well, then we should have a better look at http://www.loxone.com/ and maybe so keep our actual real-life data out of black box data centers.

With all the data google already has on me, as a new homeowner, I think I'm terrified of buying this product. What kind of profile would this allow Google to build on individuals?

Suddenly I no longer want one. I loved the idea when it was a simple way to save on power bills, but I wouldn't have google spy on me even if I was paid money to use it.

Google now able to collect more data points about your home too!

After a look at Google's smart house experiment in London, I think it's safe to say, their next lot of acquisition targets will be home automation companies.

Woohoo, I look forward to it disheartening into Mountain View and only being used to control the HVAC at HQ and be shown off to board members on their quarterly tours.

3.2 billion is an insanely large number. But then when you step back and see Snapchat being offered the similar amount, you kind of feel sorry for Nest for selling.

Nice acquisition, but $3.2 bn?? Really? Just unbelievable.

This proves that the market for "better mouse trap" is huge. Look around the house. Pick something. Anything. Create a better version.

what a great way to force g+ on users even more. "too cold and want to increase your temperature? add 3 friends to your circles!"

So YouTube didn't work as a G+ promoter, so now we'll have to log into our houses with it. Well played Google, well played.

Do other large tech companies not realize what Google's up to, are they unable to try to compete, or do they just not care?

I understand why this is a good aquisition, but still 3.2B... The valuation was 'only' 2B. That escaleted a lot!

I look forward to well designed Nest competitors that support connections and logging to user specified endpoints.

"OK Google, flush the toliet."

I guess in future I'll need a google+ account to adjust the temperature in my house ... :)

Good thing the Google founders have grown up and don't need adult supervision anymore.

a sign that google is horny for the "internet of things" :)

Is it known how much equity Faddell had? Is he a billionaire now?

Google + Nest + Boston Dynamics + Ray Kurzweil = Domestic Robot?

So will I need to sign into my house with a Google+ account now?

Isn't Google trying to spread too thin? I feel so.


Now there's another Google product that will never hit the UK.

Google with (new) data sources in my house: hmm.

Remember Sparrow?


Yes, now we can have even more relevant ads!!

Bailing out the VC already?

You must now login with your G+ account to turn on your thermostat or smoke detector.

oh, no. there's definitely no bubble.


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