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Google Nest to become Center of Smart Home

Jun 24 2014, 5:00am CDT | by

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Google Nest to become Center of Smart Home
 
 

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Google Nest to become Center of Smart Home

Nest Labs is taking the next step in its quest to become a central hub for the smart home, by letting creators of other gadgets and services access its learning thermostat and smoke detector for the first time.

With the long-awaited developer program Nest is finally launching today, other apps and devices will be able to access what Nest detects through its sensors, including vague readings on temperature and settings that show if a person is away from their home for long periods. These services will even be able to talk to one another via Nest as the hub.

Nest, founded by former Apple executive Tony Fadell, has long-been seen as one of the leading companies in the smart home revolution. Google bought the company  for $3.2 billion in January, and last week Nest bought  video monitoring service DropCam for $555 million to (for better or worse ) learn how people behave in their homes, for instance by reportedly tracking  how doors are open and shut.

Crucially, Nest is not letting third parties get access to the motion sensors on its thermostat and smoke alarm, says co-founder Matt Rogers — though it’s unclear what sort of access Nest might eventually give to DropCam’s video footage. “We’ve been building it for about a year,” he says. “One reason it’s taken us this long to build is we realized we had to be incredibly transparent with our user about data privacy.”

That means plenty of reminders to developers about what data can be used for, and requirements that they get user permission before sharing data with Nest. It will be a private, but very open platform, says Rogers. Apple’s own foray into smart homes with a service called HomeKit will likely have far more restrictions.

“Also,” he points out, “ours is not vaporware.”

Nest is expecting myriad developers to start building integrations into its two main devices, but it’s already done some early integrations with eight other companies, including wearable-fitness tracker firm Jawbone, Mercedes-Benz and Google Now, the digital mobile assistant that learns about a person’s routines and notifies them of important information.

As of today, the Jawbone UP24 band will have a setting that turns on the Nest thermostat when it senses its wearer has woken up from a night’s sleep. Mercedes-Benz’s cars will be able to tell Nest when a driver is expected home, so it can set the temperature ahead of time. Smart lights made by LIFX can also be programmed to flash red when the Nest Protect detects smoke, or randomly turn off and on to make it look like someone is home when Nest’s thermostat is in “away” mode.

Developers are excited about the program because it means they can learn more about users than they could before. One partner in the program who didn’t want to be named, said that the extra data they could collect from Nest’s devices could help them become more competitive in their own field. “We can’t live with just the information we get naturally,” they said.

Another developer also saw Nest’s program as a “gateway” to learning more about potential customers and interacting with them. “Nest understands where people are in home, who’s in the home, what time they leave the home,” says Grant Wernick, co-founder of local-search and leisure-recommendation service Weotta. “As they open more of this up, companies like us could be able to plug into some of this data that people can opt into. We can make proactive recommendations of things people can do on Friday night.”

Opening up to other services is integral to Nest’s re-invention of the humble thermostat, which some say parallels the way Apple reinvented the mobile phone. “It’s going to be a huge, huge game changer and it’s only the beginning,” Wernick says, adding that the role of the smart thermostat may be gradually morphing “to being a controller for your house and lifestyle.”

Google Now is the key link back to Nest’s parent company Google, but Nest insists Google won’t get greater powers over its platform. Google Now could connect to other appliances through Nest and, for instance, turn off the LIFX lights, a spokesperson said, but that’s up to the individual developers to work out between themselves.

The bigger advantage for Google is what it can learn through Nest and potentially through other devices connected to it. Wernick believes Google Now will eventually be able to use Nest as just another sensor point to learn more about people’s lifestyles, so it can better predict habits. “It’s going to understand your behavior better to help guide you in your life,” he says.

Would Google Now be able to use Nest’s data to serve Google’s all-important advertising ambitions?

“Nope,” says Nest’s Rogers. “We’re clear our data can only be used for what a developer will use it for.” He added that Nest has a small team that will monitor what sort of tie-in services developers build. “We don’t want anyone to make the rob-my-house app,” he says.

Still, there may be reasons to be wary of Nest offering to share its platform with any other service with a web connection.

“Nest is sticking its toe in home automation, which opens them to all the same problems that home automation companies are dealing with,” says Dan Tentler, founder of security company Aten Labs and expert on SHODAN, the search engine for Internet-connected devices.

With the explosion of API connections, could Nest’s platform be hackable? “At this point it’s a wait and see,” says Tentler. “Nest has a lot of user data and that user data could be parenthetically valuable to a variety of different people.”

Tentler points out he has yet to hear of anyone in the InfoSec community trying to openly attack Nest. But, he adds, “when something goes live, the pressure is on.”

Follow me on Twitter: @Parmy

 

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Update: 11

Samsung Is In Talks To Pay ~$200 Million For Smart Home Startup SmartThings

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Samsung is in talks to buy SmartThings, a startup that lets you control everyday appliances like lights and garage doors over the internet, according to our sources. We don't know the price, but Alexia Tsotsis of TechCrunch, who was the first to report the news, says it could be about $200 million. We've also heard SmartThings has been in acquisition talks with other companies for some time now, but Samsung appears to be the closest to scooping up the startup. Sma ...
Source: Business Insider   Full article at: Business Insider Jul 16 2014, 8:18am CDT
 


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Google, Samsung, and Others Join Forces To Standardize Internet Of Things

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A group of companies, including Google’s Nest and Samsung, has agreed to form a nonprofit called the Thread Group to develop a new wireless standard for the Internet of Things. The Internet of Things is the term used to describe the idea of having all electronic devices and appliances at home or in the office connected through the internet. IDC expects the Internet of Things to grow into an $8.9 trillion market by 2020. The Thread ...
Source: The Business Insider   Full article at: The Business Insider Jul 15 2014, 12:39pm CDT
 

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Update: 9

Review: Nest Learning Thermostat

Source: Tech Radar

"Dragon Nest" Photocall - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival
IntroductionNest has been making the headlines as the new hot tech for houses and was probably one of the reasons why Apple launched the HomeKit project at WWDC 2014. Its eponymous product is a connected thermostat that promises to cut your heating bills by learning how your household works and adjusting the heating habits (hence the name "Learning Thermostat").Nest Gen 2 has been around for more than a year now and finally came to the UK a couple of mon ...
Source: Tech Radar  Full article at: Tech Radar Jul 15 2014, 6:30am CDT
 

Update: 7

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Update: 4

Don't Want Google In Your House? Here Are a Few Home-Tech Startups To Watch

Source: AppleSlashdot

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curtwoodward writes: Google bought Nest. Then Nest bought Dropcam. Then Nest opened up its platform to tech partners, including... Google. This may not creep everyone out, but for those who don't like the idea of Google's all-seeing eye owning their smart-home devices, there are some small, independent companies developing alternatives. Maybe they'll survive long enough to get acquired by a company th ...
Source: AppleSlashdot   Full article at: AppleSlashdot Jun 25 2014, 3:56pm CDT
 

Update: 3

Nest will Indeed Start sharing Data with Google

Source: I4U News

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Nest co-founder Matt Rogers on Monday announced on its blog the Nest Developer Program, an awesome initiative that will allow developers to use their devices and apps together with Google’s Nest ...
Source: I4U News  Full article at: I4U News Jun 25 2014, 6:12am CDT
 

Update: 2

Yes, Nest will start sharing data with Google

Source: BGR

"Under The Electric Sky" Pre-Screening Launch Party - 2014 Park City
Nest co-founder Matt Rogers on Monday announced on its blog the Nest Developer Program, an awesome initiative that will allow developers to use their devices and apps together with Google’s Nest products for even more advanced home control. What Nest didn’t say in its announcement is that Google will obviously be one of the partners involved, which means some data will be shared with the company. However, Nest later ...
Source: BGR   Full article at: BGR Jun 25 2014, 5:50am CDT
 

Update: 1

Nest Announces New Smart Home API

Source: AppleSlashdot

"Dragon Nest" Photocall - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival
mpicpp writes "Today, in advance of Google I/O, Nest has officially announced a new developer program and API that will allow other companies' smart devices to communicate with Nest's Protect smoke alarm and Learning Thermostat. Among the companies that Nest is partnering with for this initial publicity push are IFTTT, Jawbone, LIFX, Logitech, Mercedes-Benz, Whirlpool, Chamberlain, and Google itself—the latter two companies will release Nest-compatible features this fall, whi ...
Source: AppleSlashdot   Full article at: AppleSlashdot Jun 24 2014, 10:17pm CDT
 

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