Google takes one step closer to becoming Big Brother

Monday, June 23, 2014
Google takes one step closer to becoming Big Brother

Nest Labs, the maker or digital thermostats, announced Friday that it was going to buy Dropcam for $555 million. Dropcam makes internet-connected video cameras for the smart home market. It is the leading product as Nest was itself for thermostats. Nest was a recent purchase of Google.

Many at the time worried that Google would now be inside our living rooms and our bedrooms. Because both Nest and Dropcam are high tech sensors that monitor the activity of people in the home, this will only add fuel to the fire for those that have privacy concerns. Matt Rogers, co-founder of Nest said, "This is a Nest dea, not a Google deal." He went on to say, "Dropcam data will not be shared with Google or any third party." The same was said when Nest was purchased. However they (NEST CEO Tony Fadel) later backed off that promise by saying, "If there were any changes whatsoever, we would be sure to be transparent about it, number one, and number two for you to opt-in to it."

It is easy to brush all of this off as conspiracy theorists doing their thing. But there are reasons for concern. Even anonymous data that NEST and Dropcam would provide, would give Google an invaluable look into our daily lives. Caitlin Fitzsimmons of BRW said, "...that information could potentially be paired with online movements, making the world’s most powerful search engine even more powerful in its ability to target advertising." AOL vice-president of product, Ryan Block tweeted his feelings about the subject. 

"Oh PS with Nest’s built-in sensors now Google knows when you’re home, what rooms you’re in, and when you’re out. Just FYI."

— Ryan Block (@ryan) January 13, 2014

Privacy concerns with Google is nothing new. In 2010, Google was caught secretly collecting data on open Wi-Fi routers as its Street View mapping cars drove down neighborhoods. This is something that should be closely watched as more and more companies begin to fight over access to our homes. Google is way out in front so far.