On Monday, Internet giant Google announced it will be purchasing Nest Labs, a company that specializes in making smart grid programmable devices that are self-learning and Wi-Fi enabled…
The Bay Area startup (Nest Lab) has developed spy-linked thermostats and smoke alarms for your home, both of which are primed for outside corporate control and surveillance.
Will these new sci-fi home appliances be mandatory in a future near you?
IMAGE: (A smart grid smoke detector developed by Nest Labs)
In December, Google, Facebook and Twitter issued an open letter to President Obama calling for the “urgent need to reform government surveillance practices worldwide.” This was prompted by Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, who in November, stated that the NSA’s digital siphoning of Google’s data centers was “outrageous.”
Schmidt is on the board of directors of the New American Foundation, who just yesterday issued a reported that the NSA has had virtually ”no impact” in preventing terrorism since expanding its spy-system.
Is Google using the current crisis of confidence in the NSA to position itself for a bigger piece of the action?
When adding up the details of this story with the narrative of Google condemning the NSA, there seems to be a conflict of interest between their business practices and the reforms that they have called for on worldwide monitoring.
Is this a case of industry insiders looking to direct the future of the NSA by helping to expand its operations privately, while in public appearing to be against it?
In 2009, it was Schmidt who pompously declared, “If you have something that you don’t want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it in the first place.”
Last year Google acquired Boston Dynamics, the robotics company funded by DARPA.
The hypocrisy surrounding Google seems to only be dwarfed by the Obama administration’s policy making and botched leadership…
Shooting for the Moon, Google Hopes to Own the Future
New York Times
Look at the technology landscape today and what do you see? A few companies — Facebook, Yahoo, Apple, Twitter and Google — competing for the same sorts of revenue: advertising, search, location and some mobile hardware.
Now look into the future of the technology landscape and what do you see? I’ll answer that for you: Google, Google and Google.
Over the last year alone Google has acquired more than a dozen tech hardware outfits working on projects that might seem crazy today, but could be part of our not-too-distant future.
Let’s look at just a small collection of Google’s recent acquisitions. There have been several humanoid robot-makers, including Boston Dynamics, which makes two- and four-legged machines that walk and run with an uncanny sense of balance. Then there was Holomni, a small design firm that makes high-tech robotic wheels, presumably for more robots, or even Google’s fleet of driverless cars. And the acquisition of Makani Power, which makes airborne wind turbines, for, well, who knows how Google will use those?
Yet many of its competitors seem to be stuck in the present. Look at Facebook, Yahoo and Twitter’s acquisitions, all of which have purchased a lot of software, design, advertising and content companies. No robots. No self-driving cars. No wind turbines.
It’s unclear where Apple fits into all of this — the company, is, after all, better at keeping secrets than the National Security Agency. Apple also clearly has the money to compete with Google.
But if Apple is working in secret on its own robot army and futuristic universe, Google is building for the future in public.
On Monday, Google announced that it ispurchasing Nest Labs, which makes Internet-connected home devices like a thermostat and smoke alarm, for $3.2 billion in cash.
What will Google use those little nests for? Likely, it will be connected to what Tony Fadell, the chief executive of Nest, told The New York Times last year, is creating a world of objects with awareness.
“Every time I turn on the TV, that’s information that someone is home. When the refrigerator door opens, that’s another sensor, more information,” Mr. Fadell said. His thermostat can track and collect that information. But the future will look different, when we have “sensor networks that can evolve, all interacting with these learning patterns.”
Of course, all of these wacky ideas and Google acquisitions could flop. Predicting a future that looks like an alternative universe only technophiles want to live in, with robots roaming the earth and sensors in our living rooms, does seem a stretch.
Read more from the NY Times Blog here
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