Gruber: Nest can teach Google to make hardware. Google can help Nest go fast

By Michael Carney , written on January 14, 2014

From The News Desk

As we pointed out earlier today in our analysis of Google's acquisition of Nest, the search giant turned technology conglomerate has long struggled to design and manufacture compelling consumer hardware devices. Daring Fireball blogger and Markdown creator John Gruber noted as much in a blog post today, saying:

Google now has a division with a remarkable consumer hardware track record... Google’s Nest acquisition has very little to do with selling thermostats and smoke detectors in particular. Instead, it’s about Google having the ability to do consumer hardware right, in general.
Gruber also noted that Nest, which was founded by iPod creator and former Apple hardware engineer Tony Fadell, now has the necessary financial resources to scale its creation and distribution of new hardware products – something Fadell had in spades at Apple, but has largely lacked since forging out on his own. Fadell acknowledged this fact, saying to Om Malik in an interview today:
I was spending nearly ninety percent of my time on building the infrastructure of the company and I wasn’t able to spend enough time and cycles on what I love doing: products and creating differentiated experiences for our customers... Google offers to bring that scale to us.
Obviously, there are a number of unanswered questions, including what will be the privacy the implications of this acquisition. Fadell told TechCrunch earlier today that Nest's privacy policy will not change – at least immediately – and will continue to "limit the use of customer information providing and improving Nest’s products and services."

Google's quest for increasingly targeted advertising obviously gives the company every incentive in the world to extract insights from the data gathered through Nest devices like when consumers are at home, when they leave, and when they go to sleep. In the future, should Nest develop connected door locks, audio speakers, security cameras, and other connected home products, then the extent of data goldmine would only increase.

Not all of Nest's internet of things (IoT) competitors and industry partners are concerned about today's acquisition. Mike Soucie, co-founder of connected hub integration platform Revolv expressed as much in an email to PandoDaily today, saying:

We think that Google's acquisition of Nest is positive for the smart home industry overall as it will raise awareness for the space, opens up third party development for Nest devices as well as drive faster adoption of smart home technology by mass consumers. As we saw at CES, the market is exploding fast and we look forward to continuing to help consumers unify and make sense of all the new smart home devices hitting the market this year.
One thing that seems certain, Nest will only accelerate its assault on the internet of things sector under Google's supervision. What that ultimately means for consumer privacy and the company's competitors will unfold slowly over a period of years rather than months.