Monday, October 21, 2019

Google Also Wants Your Home

It was only a matter of time before Nest was Googled.  Bloomberg reports:

Several residential builders have stopped buying and installing Google’s Nest devices after the internet giant overhauled how Nest technology works with other gadgets.

The Alphabet Inc. unit bought Nest in 2014 for $3.2 billion to enter the so-called smart-home market. Nest has become one of the largest makers of internet-connected thermostats, smoke alarms and locks...

 The devices were popular with builders who saw a Nest gadget as a way to increase the value of properties. But earlier this year, that began to change as Google exerted more control over Nest and started changing the underlying technology.

As a more independent business, Nest developed software that helped its gadgets communicate with a wide range of products from other manufacturers, through accounts set up directly by users.

As of the end of August this year, however, consumers need a Google account -- and access to the company’s voice-based Google Assistant service -- to integrate new Nest products with other devices in their homes.

 The move may help the internet giant weave its Google Assistant deeper into people’s lives. But for builders it’s just a pain because Nest devices no longer work so well with the other gadgets they install in homes, such as audio and entertainment systems, and alarms and other security gear. It’s also a less enticing user proposition with all the privacy permissions that Google Assistant requires.

That’s spurred some builders -- who collectively purchase tens of thousands of Nest devices each year -- to avoid Nest products...

 When Google announced the acquisition in 2014, Nest said it would only share user data with its own products and services, not Google’s. In a blog post, Nest co-founder Matt Rogers said “Nest data will stay with Nest” and that the company wasn’t changing its Terms of Service.

It didn’t take long for that to change. And Rogers’s blog post is no longer available on Nest’s website. Less than six months after the deal, Nest said Google would connect some of its apps, letting Google know whether Nest users were at home or not. The integration allowed those people to set the temperature of their homes with voice commands and helped Google’s digital assistant set the temperature automatically when it detected the people were returning home. Article.

Progress. 

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Play stupid games win stupid prizes!

Anonymous said...

In years past, Google had the company motto,"Do no Evil" but that slogan was removed sometime prior to their restructuring as Alphabet. Which is currently the parent company of the Google brand.

Anonymous said...

No surprise. Note to those without tech savvy: if you do not entirely control the system that you are using, it is spying on you and is almost certainly a greater security risk than simply not having it. Do not use Internet-of-Things products unless you know exactly what you are doing.

Anonymous said...

The rise of the machines. . .

No thank you. Lived without one for this long. My goodness, how did people in the 30s and 40s and 50s live without these marvelous devices (spoken with great sarcasm).

Google already knows too much. If you don't believe it, speak in the presence of your smartphone about some service or product and see if it doesn't start generating some ads.

Privacy? What is that?

Ima Lookin' said...

Most of us knew this shit was coming when we started seeing our property featured on Google-Earth. Forty years ago we thought it was intrusive for others to check the courthouse records to find out what our mortgage is or what our house sold for or who has liens on us or who drives a vehicle with a certain tag number.

Now, for a few dollars we can find out who has a criminal record, why someone left a job, what your change of address history is and whether you've ever farted in an elevator.

Remember those shoes that used to come with mirrors glued to the toes? And you girls thought we didn't know what color draws you wore!

Meanwhile: Now that I've finished this post, I can choose, below, whether to be anonymous or use a Google Account. And of course Kingfish can find out who we are with an inexpensive search using our IP Address. There IS no anonymity or privacy any more.

Anonymous said...

I read an article recently that discussed apartment landlords retrofitting their units into "smart homes" which was very Orwellian.

Hah, found it.
https://www.cnet.com/news/your-landlord-turns-your-apartment-into-a-smart-home-now-what/

Cynical Sam said...

Husband: Even with all of this smart home stuff I don't think that the NSA, FBI, CIA, KGB, and Chinese are listening in.

Wife: LOL

Ring: LOL

Nest: LOL

Siri: LOL

Alexa: LOL

Albert Schweitzer, M.D. said...

Cost/Beneft?
Trading your knowledge, your choices, your independence for the "convenience" of having your thermostat set for your preference when some electronic spy knows you are getting close? Wow!! What utter BS. So if it (they) know you are getting close, then by default they also know when you are away.. Google, the social media, and apple among others have also shown a great willingness to tell us how to think. Google has become fabulously wealthy by selling our likes and dislikes, by stuffing us with ads that they 'think' we might be inclined to follow.
And what do we get in trade for this defacto electronic slavery? And I do mean slavery, as we are their captives and they profit from us.

Throw off the yoke of electronic slavery. Anyone with one of their communication devices in the home ("alexa, play some jazz") is a complete lazy fool. Alexa learns much, much more than the idea that you might like jazz. These devices are not worth selling yourself to google, or anyone else for.

Throw off the yoke of google (duckduckgo is a very good product that does not follow your choices as google does, for instance).
Google, social media, microsoft, and apple all are very intrusive and not good. "Don't be evil", their original motto, might as well be "don't be google".

Value your independence.

Anonymous said...

Up until a few months ago my nephew worked as a software engineer for Facebook in the SF Bay Area. He left for a better job and because he couldn't stomach working for an 'evil big brother company', his words, any longer.

He was there about 6 years. Four years ago while home for Christmas he gathered everyone together for a family meeting, over 30 of us, and told us all that if you value your privacy stop using social media, especially FB, and do not install any smart home devices in your house. They, at least FB, wants to monitor every aspect of your lives and sell every speck of data they collect about you.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how many privacy advocates are chiming in. I use the Brave browser and plugins that block anything related to social media. So I can't even see the fb videos that Kingfish frequently posts.

You can't hide from Google. They own blogger and reCaptcha. The same reCaptcha you are forced to use to make a comment here.

For everyone advocating DuckDuckGo, they aren't an actual search engine. Thet are just a search proxy for Google. They perform the search on your behalf. Im stil trying to figure out their business model if their privacy claims are true. How are they making money? And why does Google allow them to access to their proprietary search algorithms for free?

Anonymous said...

@11:30
DuckDuckGo claims it doesn't use Google API or even their search results. They use Bing & Yahoo.

You are correct in questioning their business model. In the tech world if you are using a free product and you aren't paying for a product, then you are the product.


Kingfish said...

I can? You know, I've let you get away with that crap for years and never said a word but I'm going to stop this BS right now.

Want to know how I knew your identity? The old-friggin-fashioned way. Someone told me. In this case, it was the late Jimmy McDowell. Remember him? The Rez News guy. Of course, your gripes, insults, and writing style is so distinctive that anyone who reads your comments somewhere else under your own name can figure it out as well. So if you have a problem, go to his grave and take it up with his ghost although as much as you like to argue, I am sure that you will. One thing you and Pete have in common.

However, you are so paranoid and delusional, you think I can look up IP addresses and do all that James Bond crap. If there is a way to do it, I don't know it nor would I want to do so. If I could do half the crap you think I can do, this site would be CIA Jambalaya. There is no way to look up IP addresses by comments. Even if there was, roughly half of the readers are using mobile browswers. That means the IP is the carrier which means its all the same. But of course, you already knew that, right?

So keep on posting away at 2, 3, and 5 AM with the paranoia. It's quite entertaining. Now go argue with the shade of the dearly missed Jim McDowell.

Cynical Sam said...

Consider:

1. Use a VPN (virtual private network) for all internet connectivity on all devices. I recommend Private Internet Access (PIA) after using three different services. PIA doesn't log your usage.

2. Use duckduckgo as a search engine.

3. Use "private" mode in your browser. I recommend Firefox, but YMMV.

4. Only use your long term email address for family/friends/trusted addressees. For all others, use a throw-away address/es. I have at least 15 email addresses on three different domains.

5. Use complicated passwords, and change them occasionally.

6. For financial websites, use 2-factor access when available.

6. Lock your credit files on all three reporting agencies.

7. Consider using credit monitoring, such as Experian Identity Works or Kroll's.

If we can't trust Equifax, Target, and Anthem to keep our sensitive data safe, we can't trust any entity.

You're welcome. :)

Two Sixes said...

Sam, I'll add ...

9. Even when using a VPN if your ISP feeds you a random IP address 'cycle it', i.e. force your service provider to feed you a new one, weekly or, at the least, monthly.

Anonymous said...

I've never heard of Jimmy McDowell and he's never heard of me. Would have no reason to have interfaced. You know your deflection is bullshit. But, nice (elaborate) attempt. Outing those on whom you depend is not going to serve you well. Ya think?

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