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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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  • 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.
  • 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.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

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