Is Google (GOOG) one step closer to becoming Big Brother?
The Internet giant is acquiring Nest, a company that makes smart thermostats and smoke alarms, for $3.2 billion in cash. Two former Apple (AAPL) executives, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, founded Nest in 2011. Nest's thermostats were designed to reduce a homeowner's heating costs; the device learns its user's behaviors and can adjust the temperature autonomously. A user can also lower or raise the heat remotely from the iPhone or iPad.
Related: Here's why Google bought Nest
By buying Nest, Google now has access to private information that was never under its purview. Rogers addressed privacy concerns in a blog on the Nest website:
Google “will now know what time I go downstairs to turn up the heat,” Macke says in the above clip. “I don't know what they do with that information. But if the government wanted to know all that, I would be really paranoid.”
Americans and tech companies including Google demanded answers and reforms when former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed the federal spying agency was collecting vast amounts of personal data on its servers. Yet many Americans eagerly share intimate details about their lives with smartphone and social media companies, argues Macke.
Related: Furious Tech Giants Fight Back Against NSA Surveillance
“We're giving away all of our personal information and we're actually paying for it,” he says. “Google has so much information they don’t know what to do with.”
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