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Google Power Hardware

Google Testing Smart Appliance, Would Compete With Nest Thermostat 139

Posted by timothy
from the getting-warm-in-here dept.
cagraham writes "Google is currently testing a web-connected thermostat, similar to the popular Nest Thermostat, according to The Information. The device would display energy usage details, and allow user's to control it from a web app. This actually marks the second time Google has ventured into home energy, after their PowerMeter web app that was shut down in 2011. Web connected devices could allow Google access to a treasure trove of data on people's daily habits and routines."
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Google Testing Smart Appliance, Would Compete With Nest Thermostat

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  • Web connected (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @12:38PM (#45715261)

    It doesn't say Cloud-connected, but then this is Google, a cloudy company. If I can't say no to the Cloud connection, I don't want it. But I do want to connect to it using an open protocol.

    • Now they'll know everything from when you wake up to when you take a bath. If you turn the heater up, they'll probably start sending you more banner ads for cold medicines; and if you do it too often, they'll probably sell that data to your health & life insurance companies to raise your rates. No thanks Google. Stop spying on us.
      • No one can 'spy' on you unless you invite them in. Google's not busting into your home and forcing you at gunpoint to install one of their thermostats. If you don't want to participate, then don't. But don't complain because others want to and because a company finds yet another avenue to generate a revenue stream. That's what their business model is all about.
      • They don't need a thermostat for most of this. They know when I wake up, because that's when I pick up my phone and check my gmail. And I go to bed when I turn off my GoogleTV and set my phone on the charger.
        What's wrong with getting cold medicine ads when you may have a cold? It's beats the heck out getting flooded with ads that provide nothing useful to me. When my furnace is running non-stop, I want to see ads with great deals on flights to Miami.
        Now, as for selling that info to health and life ins
    • by Nerdfest (867930)

      They've been pretty decent with open protocols (although a little less recently), and they seem to have an interest in power saving as it helps keep their costs down for obvious reasons. Using their expertise to help lower peple power consumption while making money selling a product seems like a pretty decent idea. I think it'll likely ne network connected so you can control your therostat when away from the house for example, but I'm hoping it can be controlled without going through them as well. Not sure

    • Re:Web connected (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @01:30PM (#45716001) Homepage

      Best thing to do then is build your own. because ANY commercial product will spy on you. None of these scumbag companies are interested in giving you control over your property.

      Plus it had better support more modern furnaces, the NEST only works with really old furnaces, it will not work with a Bryant Evolution or any of the other more modern HVAC systems that use rs485 full data communication to deliver more information back and forth.

      • Any Home Automation product that sends data back to the Mothership will get a big fat "no" from me, but there are plenty of commercial solutions out there that do not phone home. If you're paranoid, run a packet sniffer on your LAN to see what's going on, then kill the device's outbound traffic at the router.

        Actually, there are some products that use a gateway service to allow you to connect while away from home, and I am willing to trust these. But I'm not going to hook up a device to my LAN if it
    • by pedrop357 (681672) *

      I've looked at the noncloud ones and will pay the extra money to have one that I can access and control entirely on my network. I have a Cisco ASA, and can make a VPN connection or expose the web interface on my terms if I want remote access.

      I see zero reason why I should need to connect to someone else's website just to make changes to something that has the power to enable those changes directly.

      I'm assuming the Nest and similar offerings from Honeywell don't have a web server onboard but instead expose

      • by rikkards (98006)

        Honeywell and I assume the nest basically talk back to their server and gets updates (think POP) Their Android and Apple Apps only talk directly to the server.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Subject didn't turn on his heat tonight on a cold winter night, he must be out doing evil. Let's get this information to the NSA right away!

    • by istartedi (132515)

      That's one problem. The other problem is the inevitably compromised "internet of things" that allows regular old criminals to pull up a list of "hot targets". They'll have a nice little map that shows them the optimal route to drive by houses where people aren't at home, and where their consumption of items from certain stores makes it a juicy target. Regular criminals won't have access to this technology of course. Just like any other business, the 1%er organized criminals will squeeze out Mom n Pop.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one left that just wants to set my thermostat and leave it the F*** alone.
    I don't need my appliances talking to the internet. I just want them to shut the F*** up and do what I tell them to do.

    • Amen, bro.
    • by afidel (530433)

      Meh, being able to have cheap multizone temp monitoring seems like a cool use of technology to me. Plus with Nest you can silence the alarm in the kitchen and it will silence all the rest of the smoke alarms in the house for a period of time which is cool.

      • Meh, being able to have cheap multizone temp monitoring seems like a cool use of technology to me.

        Considering that Google's main competition in this arena is the Nest, a $250 thermostat...

        You have a really odd definition of the word "cheap," you know that?

        • Look at the whole puzzle, not just the price tag.

          Nest understands that their product is expensive up front, but delivers far more than the price tag in energy savings over it's lifetime. People like to bitch about the up-front cost of LED lighting too, but everyone around here at least understands the savings of those products.

          • Nest understands that their product is expensive up front, but delivers far more than the price tag in energy savings over it's lifetime.

            Only for people too stupid to program a normal $30 programmable thermostat.

          • Look at the whole puzzle, not just the price tag.

            Nest understands that their product is expensive up front, but delivers far more than the price tag in energy savings over it's lifetime.

            Yea, yea, I've heard the sales pitch. Problem is, a $300 thermostat can't give me any better energy savings than the act of me keeping my thermostat at a lower/higher temperature, depending on the season. Hell, I saved myself almost $100 in a single month this summer by raising the dial from 65 degrees to 70, no fancy electronics needed. So, really, there is no savings in buying an outrageously priced, wall-mounted bauble for people with sense.

            And when I get chilly this winter? I'll put on a sweater.

        • by afidel (530433)

          Compared to traditional multizone monitoring solutions with installation? Yes, it's cheap.

          • Compared to traditional multizone monitoring solutions with installation? Yes, it's cheap.

            Touche.

            Ever consider rolling your own? Temp/humidity sensors can't be that expensive on their own, and you could monitor and control the whole shebang with an Arduino/Pi combo.

            • Temp/humidity sensors can't be that expensive on their own,

              Boom shaka-laka [sparkfun.com]

              and you could monitor and control the whole shebang with an Arduino/Pi combo.

              OK so assuming a 4 zone setup, you're looking at $40 for the sensor, let's say another $100 for the Ardiuno/Pi setup, and I'm going to guestimate no more than $25 in wire and other supplies... less than $200 total.

              Not too shabby if you have the know-how and time to build and code it.

              • by chihowa (366380) *

                That covers monitoring. Throw in a couple of servos and drivers to control the ventilation and you have a complete system. Drop the Pi/Arduino combo and use a Beaglebone Black and you keep roughly the same expenditure.

                I think I have a project lined up for the holidays...

                [ By the way, it had been a little while since I last used BatchPCB, but they've since sold their operation to OSH Park [oshpark.com], who now does all of the fab work in the US and the turnaround is much quicker. If you're looking for reasonably priced s

                • by nblender (741424)

                  That's great if you want to turn your furnace into a hobby... I suggest you wire in a couple of old manual tilt-switch thermostats in parallel and in series to ensure you don't freeze your pipes or have the furnace on 24x7 in case your arduino gets an unhandled interrupt or something.. Personally, I have a http://www.rcstechnology.com/oldsite/products/stats/serial.htm [rcstechnology.com] RCS TR60 thermostat with an RS-485 port. I have it hooked up to a mac mini running Ubuntu. Periodically it updates a mysql database with in

              • Add in a wifi module, and the developer kits for your mobiles, and learn to program your mobile, write a web service, and the arduino/pi with it's limited C subset (and the module quirks). So for $200 + those, you've saved what over the $300 nest?

                • Add in a wifi module, and the developer kits for your mobiles, and learn to program your mobile, write a web service, and the arduino/pi with it's limited C subset (and the module quirks). So for $200 + those, you've saved what over the $300 nest?

                  Unless the nest comes complete with remote sensors for the different zones, you're kinda comparing apples to oranges here.

                  Also, as someone else pointed out, a $60 BeagleBone Black covers the electronics. So, really, the DIY setup is ~$40 for sensors, ~$60 for control, and $25 for wiring - we'll say $150 total to give a little wiggle room.

                  I don't know why you think there needs to be a wifi module for a system that's hard-wired into the house; I guess because the Nest has one? Well, that's another advantage t

        • Have you looked at what normal multi-zone temp monitoring costs?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This is Slashdot. You can say "fuck" here.

    • Re:Themostat (Score:4, Interesting)

      by mlts (1038732) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @01:02PM (#45715605)

      I am a fan of the KISS principle.

      I like my refrigerator to keep things cold, perhaps make ice. Not act as a TV or entertainment center, nor share data with the world about the expiration date on the cottage cheese stashed in the crisper drawer [1]. Just run the refrigerant around in the tubes to move heat from the inside to the outside until it hits the right temperature, then stop doing so until the temperature warms up enough to restart the cycle.

      Same with my A/C or heater. Heat/cool until it hits the right temperature, stop, then resume working when the temperature rises or falls enough.

      I don't care to have to worry about additional Wi-Fi connections, security ramifications if the bad guys get on the internal Wi-Fi segment, mass data gathering. I want appliances to do their basic function, and that's that.

      The only connected exception would be smoke, water, and burglar alarms, and even then, it should only connect to a dedicated monitoring center and nowhere else.

      [1]: One rule -- if it gets on the Internet, it will eventually be public.

      • You have not met my wife. She will walk into a room where I am sitting, change the thermostat or fan speed, then walk out. So I got to get up and set it back again. I have considered modifying things so it can't change, but that would be cruel.
        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          You need to set it up so that the positive feedback of using the control and display stil;l happens, but the temeperature does not change. It keeps everybody happy that way.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I have considered modifying things so it can't change, but that would be cruel.

          Disconnect the existing thermostat so that it does nothing, but is still available for her to change. Install new real thermostat in a hidden location.

          Why yes, I have been divorced twice. Is that somehow significant?

          • by sribe (304414)

            Disconnect the existing thermostat so that it does nothing, but is still available for her to change. Install new real thermostat in a hidden location.

            You jest. I knew some guys in a company who did exactly that in their office. Funny thing was, the women who fought every day over the thermostat never even noticed. They continued their daily wars of up->down->up->down without noticing that it no longer did anything.

        • You have not met my wife. She will walk into a room where I am sitting, change the thermostat or fan speed, then walk out. So I got to get up and set it back again. I have considered modifying things so it can't change, but that would be cruel.

          You don't need a $300 thermostat to fix that. [walmart.com]

        • Have the real thermostat hidden somewhere else and make the one she changes a decoy.
      • Re:Themostat (Score:5, Informative)

        by bmajik (96670) <matt@mattevans.org> on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @01:36PM (#45716099) Homepage Journal

        Quite right.

        I spent a few evenings recently learning about the Nest products. But the more I looked, the more I found stories of devices that failed to boot after software updates, or had other flakiness issues.

        I live in a part of the world where a thermostat failure would be a problem. The ambient temps were -20F last week. If the thermostat updated while we were out of the house and failed to boot properly, the entire house would freeze in short order. The pipes would burst and I'd be out many tens of thousands of dollars trying to repair the place.

        I can't risk that.

        The Nest clearly seems to be targeted at silicon valley types who want a gadget and are used to the gadget early-adopter flakiness. If your thermostat flakes out in SVC its no big deal. Very different context than rural North Dakota.

        It would be a simple matter to integrate a _backup_ mechanical failsafe that activated the heating circuits if the temperature fell below say, 50F.

        The Nest apparently does not have this feature.

        I've had programmable thermostats in the past, but programming them (not to mention setting the clocks to track DST changes) has always been enough of a hassle that I've always reverted to "one temperature, all the time". So the Nest is interesting in terms of the problem it tries to solve. The data collection, and correlating furnace activity with outside temperature -- is all interesting. As I was researching the Nest, I realized that they were attempting to create a new product category -- home hvac efficiency enthusiast.

        I might be willing to pay $250 to solve a problem I don't actually have. But not if it greatly increases the likelihood of causing a $30,000 problem because it was designed by people who apparently have no experience with controls.

        • by AJodock (1901718)

          If your thermostat flakes out in SVC its no big deal. Very different context than rural North Dakota.

          As someone who lives in the ND area this is the exact reason why I did buy a internet enabled thermostat. I got a Honeywell not a Nest (wasn't available yet), and having an internet enabled device is the perfect way to monitor if something does go wrong. I can login to the portal and setup high and low limits, and if my furnace were to fail and the house drops below my set temperature I get an email alerting me to that fact so that I can respond. Also if the thermostat or internet connection fails I get

          • by bmajik (96670)

            I totally get what you're saying. And I had also thought of wiring a mechanical backup in parallel. But that sort of changes the value prop of the Nest device away from a "install it in 10 minutes and then play" to something somewhat more involved.

            The effective reliability of a non-redundant system is limited to the reliability of its least reliable component.

            In many years of home ownership with all different types of heating systems and thermostats, grid-tied electrical service has been by far lowest-rel

            • by AJodock (1901718)

              "install it in 10 minutes and then play" to something somewhat more involved.

              Well I usually enjoy an involved setup :) As long as it is stable afterwards of course.

              However, those outages tend to be a few hours per year in the places I've lived, and the system comes back from failure without intervention.

              Yeah that brings up another issue with programmable thermostats is that when you bring your temp down when you aren't home and then the power fails you are already at that much lower of a temperature to start with. A few hours might not be an issue when your temp is already high, but when you are 10 deg lower to start with and then your furnace fails you have that much less time to respond.

              The failure mode is that the nest freezes and you have no indication at all that anything is wrong.

              I would have assumed that the

        • I've had programmable thermostats in the past, but programming them (not to mention setting the clocks to track DST changes) has always been enough of a hassle that I've always reverted to "one temperature, all the time".

          Is having them heat or cool at exactly the right time that big a deal? Why not just split the difference -- leave the clock set 30 minutes ahead -- and then set the "home" (conditioned) intervals 1 hour longer to compensate?

          It's slightly less optimized, but it still saves tons of energy com

        • by WhatHump (951645)

          I agree with your assessment of the Nest thermostat. However, I'm puzzled about your comment regarding your ability for your home to retain heat. I live in Canada (about an hour north of Toronto) and a couple of years ago our natural gas meter malfunctioned, cutting off the supply to our furnace. By the time it was properly diagnosed and resolved, we were almost 48 hours without heat. However, the house never dropped below +10 degrees Celsius during that time, and that was February with outdoor temperat

        • by russotto (537200)
          If you really want a backup mechanical failsafe, get yourself a small mechanical thermostat and wire it up in parallel. No electronic thermostat that I know of has a mechanical backup.
      • by slim (1652)

        I live in the UK, where most houses central heating works on the KISS principle: there is one mechanical thermostat in the hallway. That thermostat switches on/off your boiler and pump, which sends hot water around a loop through every radiator in the house.

        It sucks.

        It sucks a little less if you manage to "balance" your radiators by adjusting their valves just-so, so that the first radiator in the loop doesn't get all the heat. Otherwise you get situations where your spare bedroom is like a sauna, your livi

        • Look into a Z-Wave based home automation hub like MiCasaverde's Vera. Then get some Z-wave enabled thermostats (or even WiFi ones, for example there's a vera plugin for Heatmiser ones), and Z-Wave TRVs (StellaZ / Danfoss, though the latter ones are somewhat problematic). I have TRVs in several rooms slaved to the thermostats, each of which can drive the boiler (the old fashioned on/off boiler type). Wiring thermostats in parallel can mess up the benefits of their PID-type controller, but in practice they
        • It sucks a little less if you have Thermostatic Radiator Valves on each radiator. These control flow into each radiator individually, so you can set the temperature you want for each room. But one radiator must have no TRV, otherwise it's possible to damage the boiler when it tries to pump against a closed system. So you get situations where the TRV-less radiator is blasting out unwanted heat; or where the main thermostat clicks off, so the boiler isn't on, while rooms are cold. So it still sucks.

          Put the ma

          • by slim (1652)

            Results in the thermostat clicking off while other rooms are still cold.

            • Put the main thermostat near the TRV-less radiator, but turn down that radiator's valve so that it's only open a little bit and heats up slowly?

        • by spunc (752125)

          Try looking for the Conrad or ELV FHT80BTF. It's a motorised actuator that replaces the TRV head and is radio-controlled by the programmable thermostat on the wall. There's a window sensor too.

          I have this in all the rooms in the house and couple them with the FTH8W boiler controller to switch on the gas boiler when any room calls for heat. I also bought a CUL USB transceiver and have software called FHEM installed on a Raspberry Pi to control the system (and provide graphs).

          My plumber installed a bypass in

      • What exactly is the "right temperature". If I'm home, and it's a chilly winter day the "right temperature" is 66-68. If I'm out for the day it might be 60 or lower. If I'm gone for a week it could be 50. Same thing when everyone in the house is snug in bed. And if the wind is picking up and blowing through the old windows, the temperature where the thermostat is might be 5 degrees warmer than the temperature at the other end of the house. A smart thermostat can learn or be programmed for all of those

      • share data with the world about the expiration date on the cottage cheese stashed in the crisper drawer [1]

        What, you don't like the idea of teenage griefers writing "LOL, stupid noob don't know cottage cheese don't go in the crisper! #Lrn2Fridge" on your TwitBook feed?

    • I don't need my appliances talking to the internet.

      Last summer I was just driving onto the ferry to head to the cottage for a couple of weeks when I realized that I forgot to turn down the hot water heater. Sure would have been nice to have connected to the heater from my phone and dialed it down remotely.

      • I don't need my appliances talking to the internet.

        Last summer I was just driving onto the ferry to head to the cottage for a couple of weeks when I realized that I forgot to turn down the hot water heater. Sure would have been nice to have connected to the heater from my phone and dialed it down remotely.

        I once left on a long trip and thought I left the oven on. So I called my mother-in-law, who has a spare key, and had her check.

        $2 key given to a trusted person, or a $300 appliance that may or may not work when you really need it to... the choice seems pretty simple to me.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          If you can trust your mother-in-law with a spare key, you are rather blessed.

    • I have a few thermostats and remote controlled radiator valves around the house plugged into a home automation hub. Took a little while to set up, but now the various rooms around the house only get heated when necessary (instead of heating it based on a timer which rarely matches my schedule), which saves money. When I leave work, I hit the Heating button on the remote control app so the house is warm when I arrive, which adds comfort (next step: use a geofence). I can turn up the heat from the couch, o
  • by larry bagina (561269) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @12:45PM (#45715361) Journal
    Thanks but we all know you'll get bored and drop support for it in 6 months, bricking your (because it's licensed not purchased) thermostat in the process. If you have a problem with a Nest thermostat, you can call them up and talk to a person. If you have a problem with a google anything, you can, well, fuck off, because supportis the one thing Google can't find.
    • by msauve (701917)
      As if Nest has published APIs, or control of the thermostat doesn't require going through their servers?
    • by slinches (1540051)

      Actually, I've had nothing but good experiences with Google phone support. Every time I've called I got an intelligent person who actually seemed interested in trying to resolve my problem. The success rate on solving the problem immediately wasn't perfect, but they did follow up when a patch was eventually released that fixed the issue.

  • Google creates and then discards so many little initiatives at such a quick cadence - you'd have to be a fool to wire your house up with one, without some guarantee as how many years it will be supported.

  • I hope they know enough to discard the information after they're done the analyses, as libraries have long since learned to do when someone returns a book. Otherwise they can look forward to someone showing up with a court order and asking them for "a google search of everyone using more than 10 KW/H between 1 and 5 AM".

    I'd also expect to tie the web service to "something I have" as well as something I know (my password). A good thing to uniquely tie it to is the google thermostat itself. It can give the owner it's private key via bluetooth and a "press to authenticate" button*.

    --dave
    [* this is a solution to a lot of "authenticate a device" problems]

  • The next is rediculously expensive. I use a Honneywell Wifi which is better. From what I know about the Nest from a lot of my friends that have it - the "smart" and "adaptive" stuff doesn't really work too well at all. The Honewell give you a basic schedule - and lets you access it remotely - which is what and all I really need. I don't need all the fancy display, UI, bells/whistles of the Nest. I hope/assume Google will go the "chromecast" route - in delivering an inexpensive, Wifi connected product that j
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      The next is rediculously expensive. I use a Honneywell Wifi which is better. From what I know about the Nest from a lot of my friends that have it - the "smart" and "adaptive" stuff doesn't really work too well at all. The Honewell give you a basic schedule - and lets you access it remotely - which is what and all I really need. I don't need all the fancy display, UI, bells/whistles of the Nest. I hope/assume Google will go the "chromecast" route - in delivering an inexpensive, Wifi connected product that j

  • Set the heat at 60, and when you come home from work, bump it to 65. What is so hard about that? Why do you have to tell Google when you're home and when you're not? To those who posit "But you can set the thermostat if you leave the house and forget to change it", there's a solution for that. Don't forget. People have been not forgetting to change their thermostats for probably 100 years now. You don't need some masturbatory iThing to do this.

    • I don't like coming home to a cold house. With a Goog-thermostat, I could turn the heat up when I leave work so it will be warm when I get home.

      • by Viol8 (599362)

        Newsflash - thermostats with timers have been around for 50 years.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Yup, however the fancy technology that hardly any model has and I just had to shell out over $100 for is to simply have the fan automatically turn on and circulate the air for a little while every hour or so. Using the fan even when the heat or A/C is nut running goes a long way towards evening out the temperatures across the house and avoiding rooms getting stale, but the vast majority of thermostats only offer the two options "When the Heat/AC is running" or "All the damn time until your fan motor burns o

          • Why don't you develop one, sell it for less than the Nest or Honeywell and tell Slashdot to fuck off while you laugh all the way to the bank? :D
        • That works fine if you're a 9 to 5 guy. I work weird hours, and certainly don't come home the same time every day. My GF's schedule is even more irregular. So I switched from a thermostat-with-timer to a system that adapts to us and can be controlled remotely. The result is increased comfort and a lower heating bill.
        • by AJodock (1901718)

          And how does that help me to not come home to a cold house when I decide to run home for lunch today (assuming that I normally don't)? I would have to set the timer to do that every day wasting energy instead of logging in quick and setting the temp before I leave the office.

          • by Viol8 (599362)

            "I would have to set the timer to do that every day wasting energy "

            Or you could just wear a jumper instead of being such a wuss.

    • No normal person needs its because normal people - even nerds - like to keep simple things simple. No milk in fridge? Buy some. House too cold? Turn up heating. Easy.

      But, we don't think like the frankly slightly weird Oooh Shiny!! just left university , not yet quite up on how real life works and how real people think , head in the clouds (or cloud?) techo designers that Google employs. They're the sort of people who think that because something CAN be solved by technology , it MUST be solved by technology

    • Ah yes, "don't forget". For flawless foolproof plans, that's right up there with "be careful" and "I'll pull out in time".
    • People have been not forgetting to change their thermostats for probably 100 years now

      ...and a large number have been not not forgetting. Hence the market.

    • by slim (1652)

      Why do you need it as warm as 60F when you're out of the house? Unless you're drying clothes, the only reason for heating while you're out is to avoid frost damage.

      Even when I'm at home, I don't want my house to be a constant temperature. I want the living room to be a nice temperature between 6pm and 11pm and frost-protected the rest of the time, when nobody's there. I want the bedroom to be cold most of the time, warming up a bit ready for bedtime, cooling down again while I'm asleep, getting toasty warm

    • I have radiators with a properly sized boiler, if I made that change on a cold day, it'd be a while before things were 65.

      My nest knows how long the radiators take to heat things, and I believe even looks at the weather to do the calculation. It k ows, turn on radiators 90 minutes early, then cut them off when it reaches 63, to have the house be 65 when I get home.

      Programming those things is a real pain on a normal thermostat (I've actually only owned one that let you set when to cut off on a temperature up

  • Don't care... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mythosaz (572040) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @12:56PM (#45715509)

    Web connected devices could allow Google access to a treasure trove of data on people's daily habits and routines."

    Don't care.

    I went "all in" on Google a while ago, and I enjoy our current exchange of my personal data for their pretty damned awesome services.

    I know what I've given up, and I like what I got in return.

    If it's a cool thermostat, I'm in. Google already knows when I'm driving home. Let them turn on my air conditioner.

    • by GTRacer (234395)
      I think I love you. I too went all-in with Google for exactly the same reason. Yes, I know they have a treasure trove of info on me - some given willingly and some mined behind the scenes - but I can't get too upset given what I get in return.

      Also, I figured one questionably evil company stockpiling my data was better than two having at it, playing shadow-profile correlation games with each other.

      As to why I need a smart thermostat, a few different people said it already - No need heating/cooling to hu
      • by mythosaz (572040)

        Yeah, I'm not exactly sure I need a Google connected thermostat, but I just don't care if they know what my thermostat is set for.

        There's a line, of course. We all have arbitrary lines about what information we're willing to share. I'm not willing to let them have my taxes, watch me perform my husbandly duties, or plug in an ODB2 scanner into my car, but short of my raw financials, details on my love life, or discreet details of my driving, they're welcome to most anything they want -- as long as I get so

  • by xombo (628858) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @01:08PM (#45715709)

    Just sayin'.

    What's the point of trying to leverage Android or any of Google's products if they're going to try to compete against you in every market on their own turf?

  • who forget to turn off the stove/oven/etc. now the children can monitor Mom's appliances so she doesn't run the risk of burning-down-the-house (or relocation to a nursing home).
    • by SirGarlon (845873)
      Frankly, if Mom or Dad is at risk of forgetting to turn the stove off, she or he is probably not safe living alone. Can that elder remember his or her medications -- and not overdose? Can he or she find the way home from the corner store? I'm not saying "nursing home," but a person who can't be trusted to turn the stove off is at least a strong candidate for what we call "assisted living."
      • by jodosh (1260096)
        Assisted Living can be very expensive and technology can help solve some of these problems. My father has memory problems and might forget to take his medication or leave the range top on. I wrote a simple android app and put NFC stickers on his pill box. Each morning and night he uses a nexus 7 that I got him to scan the NFC tag which marks in a DB that I run that he has taken his meds. If by a certain time the DB hasn't been updated I get a notification my my phone to call my dad and check in. My dad enjo
  • by watermark (913726) on Tuesday December 17, 2013 @01:49PM (#45716261)

    I'm not buying a Nest, so please don't make that the quality target.

    With the Nest, the thermostat sends data to their servers and your browser/phone app communicates to their server. What if they decide to close shop next year? Definitely no web access anymore. What else on the thermostat will stop working without a server to phone home to? Not to mention, if you want to find your foil hat, why do they need to know when I'm home or not?

    Why can't we just have UPnP and connect directly to the thermostat? You might say that's too complicated for the average person, but that's the point of service people, to fix things you can't or don't want to fix yourself. Why do I have to give up so much because Uncle Joe still uses AOL?

  • Can't innovate anymore so they can only ride on the coattails of others.
  • Recently had to install a new thermostat to run additional gizmos.

    Checked around in local stores and online. Rejected Nest out of hand and anything else with a full color display and or wireless radios and settled on a Honeywell model with equivalent feature functionality.

    Years ago I realized I am not a gadget whore.. I simply don't give a shit about technology unless it helps me in some tangible way to get something done.

    Full color displays, Internet connections wireless radios don't help me they work ag

  • I have a Venstar wifi connected thermostat. It's not as fancy as the Nest. Doesn't learn your habits. (It also doesn't decide you don't need heat on Mondays due to Veteran's/Memorial/Columbus/etc Day.) But I can access it from Android and iPhones and adjust the heat from anywhere in the world that I have internet access. Leave on vacation, forget to turn down the heat. No problemo. Hour from arriving from home, bump up the heat so it's nice and toasty.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Google is a monster. We've seen its true colors and still you people are asking for more. No Google, no Chrome, no Android. That's it.

  • You also have to consider humidity. If you take the air outside in the winter and warm it up to over 75F it will be too dry, and you can suffer from dry skin and respiratory problems. If you don't have a humidifier you wont want to warm it up much/

  • The main issue with heating/cooling for majority of homes is not that the homeowner can't set or remember to set the thermostat. It is that the house is not properly insulated, there is only one heat/cooling circuit for a multilevel home, or the house has old leaky doors and windows. Once all that infrastructure is properly done, THEN maybe add a cool web-enabled thermostat.
  • Let it connect to my router and let me link them up via a built-in web interface and control them that way. There's no reason this shit has to go outside my LAN.

We can predict everything, except the future.

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