Google ramps up push to control your home
The Nest thermostat is on display following a news conference Wednesday, June 17, 2015, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)
Published Tuesday, June 23, 2015 6:30AM EDT
The world’s largest Internet company is forging ahead in its push to run your home, and it’s likely not done yet.
Google last week unveiled an updated smoke detector, a new surveillance camera and a revamped app. It’s all designed to work together following a 2014 shopping spree in the home connectivity market.
Refresher: Google has been getting serious in the home automation sphere. It bought the thermostat and smoke detector company Nest in 2014 for $2.75 billion. Then it bought the smart surveillance company Dropcam for almost half a billion.
The new Protect smoke-and-carbon-monoxide alarm is supposed to do a better job at detecting smoke and it’ll let users silence alarms from smartphones and tablets.
The first-generation Nest Protect was troubled by a bug that meant users could inadvertently silence the alarm in the event of a real fire.
Google also released its new Nest Cam, a Wi-Fi surveillance camera with 1080p video recording and better alerts.
The video recorded by the Nest Cam is fed to the cloud. Once there, computers analyze the video to determine the difference between what’s just a raccoon tipping over your green bin, and what’s an intruder lurking around your garage.
As Wired points out, the data from the Cam will give Nest partners a whole new perspective on what’s going on in your home.
Some residents may see this as a convenient feature, while others might fear the privacy risks of having Google watch over their home.
Not to be left out, the thermostat will receive a software update designed to shut the furnace in the event of a fire, as long as the Wi-Fi, Internet and electricity is still working.
Now that Google has united the trio of devices, what’s next in its quest to manage our homes?
Google’s home hub
There’s still the home automation hub Revolv purchased late last year, which we haven’t heard much about lately.
Revolv addressed fragmentation in the consumer Internet of Things world that’s worse than the Beta vs. VHS battle.
Revolv was a small, teardrop-shaped device designed to get all your smart home gadgets talking to each other.
For example, it could open your garage door when you arrived home, turn on the lights as you parked, and then play music through your Sonos sound system when you walked through the door. And you could control all those devices through one app.
A hub-like device could be beneficial to residents running a handful of Internet-connected home gadgets. Only few devices actually play nice together because they’re often operating on different wireless frequencies and with different apps.
While more devices can now link into the Nest ecosystem , it’s possible the company is working on a vastly updated Revolv hub.
‘Nest, turn up the heat’
There has also been speculation that Nest may be working on a wireless audio system similar to Sonos.
A job posting by Nest last March hinted that the company was seeking a ‘Head of Audio’ for a so-called Nest Audio team.
Between Sonos, Samsung and Sony the home audio segment is crowded with competition. Does Google want to get in on the musical party?
Another job posting, this one for an Audio Software Engineer, seeks a candidate with knowledge of “audio and/or speech signal processing principles.”
Perhaps it’s not the music Nest wants to get involved with, but the things you’re saying to your thermostat.