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Monday, 10 February 2014

In January, Google paid 3.2 billion cash for Nest, a company that designs and manufactures sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled, self-learning, programmable thermostats and smoke detectors.

Marcus Wohlsen of Wired wrote, “The value Google sells its customers—that is, advertisers—lies in its peerless understanding of our online behavior...One area of human behavior Google has yet to colonize as successfully is what we do when we’re not directly interacting with a screen...That in theory changes with Nest.”

When asked if customer data will be shared with Google, Nest founder Tony Fadell said, “Our privacy policy clearly limits the use of customer information to providing and improving Nest’s products and services. We’ve always taken privacy seriously and this will not change.”

There was a time when Google put users’ privacy first—from 2002: Google uses cookies to track user trends and patterns to better understand our user base and to improve the quality of our service. Google may also choose to use cookies to store user preferences. A cookie can tell us, “This is the same computer that visited Google two days ago,” but it cannot tell us, “This person is Joe Smith” or even, “This person lives in the United States.” Now, compare that to Google’s current policy.

Considering Google’s privacy policy evolution, some question Fadell’s assurance that Nest’s privacy policy won’t change. Tech industry blogger Sam Biddle tweeted, “If your house is burning down you’ll now get gmail ads for fire extinguishers.”☺

Posted by: Andrea Shepherd AT 03:26 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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