Nest’s Smart Thermostat Fans Turned Off By Google Acquisition

January 15, 2014 - Written By Ray Greer

Earlier we reported that Google is in the process of acquiring a smart thermostat company by the name of Nest. We also gave out a big reason why Google would do that, and apparently, our article caused an uproar. Actually, it wasn’t our article, but the idea behind the uproar was the same. The issue? Privacy. The uproar? early adopters returning their thermostats.

After news broke about Google becoming the driving force behind Nest, some early adopters decided it was time to get out, and return their thermostats. The Seattle Times had asked two of the fans that backed out, why they did so? Why are you backing out now, and what does Google have to do with it? Those two fans of Nest said they were concerned about privacy.

Privacy is a valid concern, though the responses seem to sound a bit more like people preaching against Google. Taking this chance to speak out against the way Google treats privacy terms. A fellow freelance writer, David Chartier, had this to say about the reason why he is shopping for a new smart thermostat, “We sign up for one or more services, and the [terms of service] to which we agree state Google will do X, Y and Z with the information we hand over.” Chartier continues to say, “Then down the road it adds A, B and C, which were never part of the original deal or even scope of possibilities.” Chartier continues on in that fashion with more letters and examples.

One example that we look towards is the most recent, the addition to Gmail via Google+. If you can recall, Google added a feature to Gmail that allows you to email anyone on Google+, without the need of their email address. Though, it’s a lot less black and white than that, which is why we had a few different articles on just that simple feature. The other person that was interviewed by the Seattle Times, also may be familiar, especially since he takes any chance he can to speak out against Google, and his name is Marc Rotenberg.

Rotenberg is the President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center or EPIC. Rotenberg also said he was in the market for an alternative smart thermostat, and gave his reason. “Google doesn’t respect boundaries.” Again, the example he gave was the Gmail/Google+ fusion.

It is a given that some people don’t like Google, and therefore, would want nothing to do with anything the company has their hands in. Fine, we get it, some of us don’t jump at the opportunity to buy anything with an Apple logo.

What are your thoughts on the privacy issue brought up by Rotenberg and Chartier? Do you feel Google over steps their boundaries at times, or do they give enough options to avoid crossing the line? Let us know what you think in the comments.