Google's Grand Plan For Nest Goes Way Beyond The Internet Of Things

Galen Gruman | InfoWorld | January 14, 2014

Physical devices are becoming just as important as digital services in achieving Google's know-everything ambitions

When Google buys a company, the results aren't usually pretty. Nearly all get shut down, their technology sometimes absorbed into the gargantuan data-capture engine that is Google's services and apps business. A few stick around, although heavily Googleized. This was the case with Android, an ostensibly open source effort that Google runs as it pleases, and Motorola Mobility, whose original staff was decimated and whose 3LM security technology was jettisoned.

So Google's purchase of Nest -- which makes smart thermostats and smoke detectors -- for $3.2 billion raised both fears and questions. Will Google turn Nest devices into another data-sucking portal, or mutate them into ad-laden services that you must literally rip out of the wall to avoid? Hopefully not. Will Google shut down Nest's hardware business in the next year? Hopefully not.

The good news is that there's actually good reason for Google to leave Nest fairly well alone and alive.