Google’s purchase of thermostat producer Nest Labs for several billion dollars has raised eyebrows (there are so many puns on temperature of stock and so on that it’s almost…almost not funny) in tech circles and beyond.
The general agreement seems to be that the deal shows that Google is no longer ‘just’ a search engine company, but is aiming to be so much more – that the deal shows how the company has gone from wanting to run everything on your computer / tablet / phone to now steering toward a future where Google runs your home.
Others question paying $3.2 for a company that basically builds pretty thermostats. OK, you get a couple of former Apple poster boys thrown into the deal (one of them is seen as the daddy of the iPod), but it’s still a lot of money.
Others speculate that this new purchase is particular bad news for Apple – although also just generally bad for everyone in the tech industry that’s not Google.
While most people seem to think that this is due to the fact that Google is now taking a big swing at businesses that were previously out of harms way when the internet giant decided it was time to flex its almost limitless economic muscles, then I have a slightly different take.
In recent years, Google have, amongst other things, done the following:
Bought Nest – makes thermostats that thermostat can learn user behaviour and whether a building is occupied through temperature, humidity, activity and light sensors.
Bought Boston Dynamics – builds robots for the US military.
Bought a startup that works on software for recognising human gestures.
Sponsored automated vehicle competitions and shows videos of their self-driving cars.
So in other words Google have acquired soft- and hardware that, if you add it together, seem to be the building blocks for a Terminator – and they’ve already sort of built Skynet. Now take all those facts and think about the name of the software that Google have helped develop that powers most of the world’s smartphones…
If I was competing with Google, I’d be very nervous around Brin and Page in future and be sure to watch their hands for any sort of kill-signal….:-)