Google will soon start extracting data from Nest thermostats

For the first time since its acquisition in February, Google will soon start extracting data from Nest thermostats. Earlier this year, Nest was bought by Google and at the time, the company said that it would not be sharing data but the statement was a bit vague.

But that is all about to change as Google and Nest are about to make it easier to use the thermostat with Android devices. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Matt Rogers, co-founder of Nest, said that Google Now will soon have the ability to change the temperature of Nest depending on your location.

For example, if Google detects that you are returning home, it can adjust your temperature so that it is optimal when you arrive. This means that Google will know when you are home or when you are traveling. 

The reason for Google linking Android apps to a Nest is quite logical, as it makes the service more comprehensive and better-featured, and users can be reassured that it will be opt-in, according to Rogers. What’s a bit more concerning, though, is how the interview ends.

Rogers says that data sharing with Google is not that big of a deal because of that opt-in requirement. Since users have to explicitly give permission, he isn’t too concerned about a violation of privacy.

But the interview concludes with Rogers saying “We’re not telling Google anything that it doesn’t already know”, which is a bit concerning coming from someone who has a device in thousands of households around the world.

In reality though, he is likely right because if you own an Android phone and use Google Now, the company likely already knows where you live and where you work based on your travel habits. More so, it can access your email and other personal files so adding in the temperature of your home is only a small bit of information in a vast database.

Source: WSJ | Image via Techspot

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29 Comments

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Glad I don't have this and never will.

I was tempted a while ago but when Google bought them they were crossed off my list.

Dont see the big deal with this. Location awareness that a lot of apps have and lots of people use. Just like apps turning off GPS/WIFI depending on your location.

I'm very much not a fan of Google, but this article says that they are collecting data from the thermostat when in actuality they are using data they gather from phones to control the thermostat. You don't have to know the current temperature to send a command to the thermostat to tell it what temperature to set.

I fully expect them to leverage thermostat data in the future -- and the accompanying controversy that will come with it. But there isn't evidence that this is happening yet.

Insteon is missing some of the features IMO... I'd like to have some analytics on how much it ran, ect... I'm not sure it runs the fan after cooling to not waste energy either...

However if your a WP user, it's probably your best option right now...

ObiWanToby said,
No WP support sucks too

After doing some searching, I found yet another WiFi thermostat by Lennox, and it looks like they do have a Windows Phone app:
http://www.lennox.com/icomfortwifi/
http://apps.microsoft.com/wind...b98b-4037-a92a-3e43ab7c52cc


bguy_1986 said,
Insteon is missing some of the features IMO... I'd like to have some analytics on how much it ran, ect... I'm not sure it runs the fan after cooling to not waste energy either...
The Ecobee thermostat keeps highly detailed logging (perhaps the best), and the logs can even be downloaded in CSV format.

I am sure people where will wine and complain about this. Here is a little tip, instead of complaining and if you if dont like what Google is doing, dont buy their products.

Problem solved.

-adrian- said,
Well how did they buy their products when google just recently bought nest
If you don't want data to be shared, then buying a Digital Thermostat that connects to the internet probably isn't the smartest thing.

techbeck said,
I am sure people where will wine and complain about this. Here is a little tip, instead of complaining and if you if dont like what Google is doing, dont buy their products.

Problem solved.

This product aside, you can not directly use Google products or Facebook for example but you are still being profiled around the web etc. by both companies. It's not so simple as avoiding them.

coresx said,

This product aside, you can not directly use Google products or Facebook for example but you are still being profiled around the web etc. by both companies. It's not so simple as avoiding them.

Install the Disconnect and Adblock addons for Firefox and Chrome, and you can avoid them all day long.

techbeck said,
I am sure people where will wine and complain about this. Here is a little tip, instead of complaining and if you if dont like what Google is doing, dont buy their products.

Problem solved.

Great advice and I've already been living by that rule since day 1! Wouldn't buy a Google product if my life depended on it! Only Google thing I touch is my 3 totally disposable Gmail accounts and then I almost never sign into them.

and it begins.. just wait until google power meters come out (they already had one project in the past to collect that data, just wait till they partner with smart meter makers) then they will know where you live, tempature of your house, and how much power you use... add in a gas and water meter and they can basically monitor how you live

but honestly... Nest is to me not that great of a device for the price..... My thermostat from Trane is basically a tablet computer and it cost the same amount to put it in... and it's learning, can calculate how long to run based on when the temp will change, figure out what to do based on indoor and outdoor temps, has apps.... etc.....

"the company likely already knows where you live and where you work based on your travel habits."

Yeah, it does. The first time my phone beeped at me in the morning and had a message telling me that my commute to work was going to take an extra 30 minutes due to the weather, I was a little creeped out because I never told it where I worked... It just figured it out by itself.


“We're not telling Google anything that it doesn't already know”

If that were actually true, they wouldn't bother.