Google turns up heat with 'Works with Nest' developer program for smart home services and applications
Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) has ambitious plans to take its Nest Labs' digital thermostat and home security applications and expand it to other realms within the connected home, directly stomping into territory that service providers are trying to claim as their own.
The company's "Works with Nest" developer program has been set up to encourage partner companies such as Whirlpool, Mercedes Benz and garage door manufacturers Chamberlain Group to come up with new apps that work with the Nest products already in the home.
"Works with Nest" is the latest stage of Google's move into consumer homes. Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion in January, then bulked it up with video monitoring service DropCam, which it acquired for $550 million.
"Nest wants its smart thermostat to become the central hub of a smart 'conscious and thoughtful home,'" Matt Rogers, founder and head of engineering at Nest, wrote in a blog covered by Wall Street OTC.
The thermostat, he said, is the ideal base for a smart home platform because "it is jam-packed with motion sensors and an ability to learn user behavior over time. It also has Wi-Fi and has untapped wireless ZigBee protocol that can be used for personal area networks."
The information gathered by Nest would be fed back to Google--unless users opt out. That, said Gartner analyst Brian Blau, is problematic.
"What will happen to all this data? That is something that Google and Nest will have to be careful about," Blau said in a story carried by The Wall Street Journal. "There's a higher expectation of privacy when you are in your home."
Google's increasing moves into a space that carriers would like to corner is yet another worry for AT&T (NYSE: T), which is already nervous about Google's growing influence, according to a Dallas Morning News story.
Based on a review of AT&T's regulatory filing in its effort to acquire DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV), the conclusion is that the carrier sees Google as its biggest competition, calling the Internet search engine "the most ambitious and potentially disruptive" broadband provider.