×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Google Testing Smart Appliance, Would Compete With Nest Thermostat

timothy posted about 4 months ago | from the getting-warm-in-here dept.

Google 139

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."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

139 comments

Fuck Google (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45715197)

Yay! More data for Google to give to the NSA!! Wooooohoooooooo!

Re:Fuck Google (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45715377)

Fuck you, asshole.

Re:Fuck Google (2)

RustyTheCat (2937655) | about 4 months ago | (#45717553)

The very last thing I want is to hook up everything to the internet. It's just another target for someone to hack and also I've found the greater complexity of a device the greater the probability of failure and the harder and more expensive is the repair. On the very rare occasion my 25 year old clothes dryer needs maintenance whichever repair repair tech comes out always says don't get rid of it. The newer models are only good for about seven to ten years and then have to be scrapped because something breaks that is too expensive to fix.

Web connected (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#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.

More data to mine for their advertisers & the (3, Informative)

ron_ivi (607351) | about 4 months ago | (#45715889)

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:More data to mine for their advertisers & t (2)

kaizendojo (956951) | about 4 months ago | (#45715993)

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.

Re:More data to mine for their advertisers & t (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716895)

We respectfully disagree.

Signed - NSA

Re:Web connected (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 4 months ago | (#45715899)

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 it will happen though, as they'll likely host a central control panel and some service that can be used on a variety of platforms without a lot of knowledge about setting up router firewalls, etc.

Re:Web connected (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | about 4 months ago | (#45716001)

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.

Re:Web connected (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 4 months ago | (#45716445)

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 comes for a company that is built on data mining.

Re:Web connected (1)

pedrop357 (681672) | about 4 months ago | (#45716341)

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 an API. In that case, give me a locally run app that connects and manages it the same way as the cloud app does.

Now they know when I'm home (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45715281)

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!

Re:Now they know when I'm home (1)

istartedi (132515) | about 4 months ago | (#45717097)

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.

Themostat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45715299)

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.

Re:Themostat (1)

afidel (530433) | about 4 months ago | (#45715495)

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.

Re:Themostat (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#45716189)

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?

Re:Themostat (2)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 4 months ago | (#45716293)

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.

Re:Themostat (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#45717171)

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.

Re:Themostat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45717341)

You mean people too stupid to program a normal $30 thermostat, monitor energy efficiency, make predictions on weather forecasts for how early heating is going to be needed, adjust heating to be optimally efficient. Or, who simply don't have time to do that, but do want to have the efficiency savings?

Re:Themostat (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#45717185)

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.

Re:Themostat (1)

afidel (530433) | about 4 months ago | (#45716411)

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

Re:Themostat (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#45717207)

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.

Re:Themostat (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#45717253)

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.

Re:Themostat (2)

chihowa (366380) | about 4 months ago | (#45717723)

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 small batch PCBs, check them out. ]

Re:Themostat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45715515)

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

Re:Themostat (3, Interesting)

mlts (1038732) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re:Themostat (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 4 months ago | (#45715749)

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.

Re:Themostat (2)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 4 months ago | (#45715933)

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.

Re:Themostat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45715971)

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?

Re:Themostat (1)

sribe (304414) | about 4 months ago | (#45716209)

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.

Re:Themostat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716361)

I did something like this in the house I was renting in college. One of my housemates was from Hawaii and like the thermostat around 82. I preferred it set to about 68. So I woke up early one morning, opened the thermostat up, and bent the bimetallic strip so that an indicated 82 as a set 68. He never complained about the temperature again...

Re:Themostat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45717269)

Many of the programmable ones have the ability to adjust +/- 5 degrees for calibration that can be used for similar purposes, though not quite that extreme.

Re:Themostat (5, Informative)

bmajik (96670) | about 4 months ago | (#45716099)

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.

Re:Themostat (1)

AJodock (1901718) | about 4 months ago | (#45717121)

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 alerts warning me as such so that I can investigate the cause.

When it is -20F and your furnace fails to ignite, or your power is out your mechanical/dumb thermostat isn't going to warn you, and you will still be dealing with burst pipes... if you want a mechanical backup just install a second thermostat and put it on the same control line. I would rather be alerted to the situation than be in the dark, because even if the device fails bypassing it to get some heat is just a matter of bridging two wires.

Re:Themostat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45717417)

Agreed. I looked at both the honeywell and the nest. I went with honeywell. The nest is too simplified, I want to be able to control thing the honeywell does that very well.

Re:Themostat (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#45717357)

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 compared to "one temperature, all the time"

Re:Themostat (1)

slim (1652) | about 4 months ago | (#45716217)

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 living room barely gets any heat, and the hallway where the thermostat is never warms up. Or perhaps the radiator in the hallway gets all the heat first, so the thermometer trips off before any other room warms up. Getting this right is voodoo.

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.

All I want is a system where every radiator has a TRV, and the boiler knows to run unless every TRV says it's warm enough. Should be simple. Can't seem to get them. The closest I've found is a range of WiFi TRVs that rely on your boiler detecting that returning water is no cooler than outbound water, and your system having a safety circuit to avoid excess pressure when all the valves are closed. I don't think that's standard.

But if I were to be greedy, I'd also want to be able to set schedules for individual rooms. And hey, why not have stuff like, "when my phone notices I'm leaving the office, turn on the home heating"?

Re:Themostat (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 4 months ago | (#45716649)

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 rarely seem to fight each other. You need to write some code or set up a few "scenes" in the hub to tie everything together, but it does work. And it's a hell of a lot cheaper than true multizone central heating.

Re:Themostat (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#45717677)

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 main thermostat near the TRV-less radiator?

Re:Themostat (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | about 4 months ago | (#45716437)

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 situations.

Re:Themostat (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#45717255)

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?

Re:Themostat (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 4 months ago | (#45715763)

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.

Re:Themostat (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about 4 months ago | (#45716237)

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.

Re:Themostat (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716627)

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

Hot water heater? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716789)

Why do you have a *hot* water heater? Why does your hot water need heating? How hot does it have to be before it's hot enough?

(The CAPTCHA is "heaters", I shit you not.)

Re:Themostat (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 4 months ago | (#45716575)

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, or turn on the AC in the bedroom a bit before we go to bed, which means convenience. So yes, there's lots of reasons to get "smart", connected thermostats. I got to the point where I don't have to think about the heating at all, while my gas bill is noticeably lower.

fool me twice, shame on me (5, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | about 4 months ago | (#45715361)

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.

Re:fool me twice, shame on me (2)

msauve (701917) | about 4 months ago | (#45715695)

As if Nest has published APIs, or control of the thermostat doesn't require going through their servers?

You're missing the point (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45715891)

Google doesn't support anything, even services you pay them money for.

Re:fool me twice, shame on me (1)

slinches (1540051) | about 4 months ago | (#45716775)

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.

Consistency is key (1)

Darth Snowshoe (1434515) | about 4 months ago | (#45715363)

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.

Re:Consistency is key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45715499)

Anything that gets people to throw more personal data at Google will stick around. I can see this one persisting, with directed advertisements straight to your smartToaster.

"FDA suggests new vitamin rich bread, tap toaster button to order three pallets."

Re:Consistency is key (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716613)

-- Sent from my DROIDX

I hope they've learned from the libraries (2)

davecb (6526) | about 4 months ago | (#45715405)

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]

Nest too expensive for what it is (1)

bradgoodman (964302) | about 4 months ago | (#45715413)

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 just works.

Re:Nest too expensive for what it is (2)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#45715721)

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 just works.

Funny enough, the Honeywell system I was quoted on cost twice as much as a Nest. Sure the thermostat was cheaper, but then you needed the gateway to connect its wireless to the network.

And all ti gave was a web page and stuff in the end.

Though, Nest and Honeywell are currently locked in a nasty patent battle over thermostats..

And I will say from experience - programmables suck - in practically every instance I've seen, people get all excited and program their thermostats when they get them, then after a couple of months, they don't bother. It's too cold? Override. Too hot? Override. In the end, the programmable thermostat reverts to a plain old one because no one can be bothered to reprogram the damn thing..

Re:Nest too expensive for what it is (3, Insightful)

bradgoodman (964302) | about 4 months ago | (#45715987)

It's too cold? Override. Too hot? Override. In the end, the programmable thermostat reverts to a plain old one because no one can be bothered to reprogram the damn thing..

Damn straight! That's why I did this with my Honeywell! ;-)

http://www.bradgoodman.com/thermostat/ [bradgoodman.com]

How is this a remotely useful product? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 4 months ago | (#45715437)

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.

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | about 4 months ago | (#45715525)

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.

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (2)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 months ago | (#45715573)

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

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45715801)

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 out." Why is this periodic circulation feature so damn hard to come by?

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716053)

How is that faster horse coming along for you?

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about 4 months ago | (#45716757)

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.

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (1)

AJodock (1901718) | about 4 months ago | (#45717303)

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.

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 months ago | (#45717503)

"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.

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716599)

It's gonna be great when Google wipes your ass for you as well!

Its the same mindset as a connected Fridge (2)

Viol8 (599362) | about 4 months ago | (#45715545)

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 because in their minds anything digital is the best solution simply by dint of it being digital.

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (1)

DJCouchyCouch (622482) | about 4 months ago | (#45715551)

Ah yes, "don't forget". For flawless foolproof plans, that's right up there with "be careful" and "I'll pull out in time".

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 4 months ago | (#45715841)

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.

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (1)

slim (1652) | about 4 months ago | (#45716317)

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 for getting up time, then cold while I'm away.

And I want different schedules at weekends.

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716635)

I wonder how much more heat you're pumping out to heat that "frost protected" home to "comfortable" than you'd have used just leaving it "moderately comfortable" at all times.

I'm betting it's not an inconsequential difference.

Re: How is this a remotely useful product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45717031)

It all depends on insulation. A house will not maintain temperature like a refrigerator. The greater the temperature differential to outdoors, the greater the losses.

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 4 months ago | (#45717521)

I wonder how much more heat you're pumping out to heat that "frost protected" home to "comfortable" than you'd have used just leaving it "moderately comfortable" at all times.

How much "more"? Less than zero, that's how much "more."

The energy required to maintain a difference in temperature between an object and its surroundings is proportional to the difference in temperature. Therefore, it takes less energy to let the house cool off (minimizing delta-T some of the time) and then warm it up again than it does to keep it warm the whole time (in winter, or vice-versa in summer). This is true regardless of insulation (which only affects the speed at which the cooling off or warming up happens).

Re:How is this a remotely useful product? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716393)

What if I forget to not forget?

Douche.

Don't care... (2, Interesting)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#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.

Re: Don't care... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716145)

You sad little idiot.

Re: Don't care... (3, Insightful)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#45716607)

I'm marked Troll for some reason. Apparently an informed decision of making a trade of privacy for convenience and liking what I get from Google in exchange for that isn't a valid opinion here.

You know what? I like my phone buzzing about 10 minutes before I normally leave from work to alert me about traffic, and I'm willing to let Google know where I am and where I live (something they knew what I ordered a GPE One from them anyway) in exchange.

By the same token, I'm willing to allow them to sniff my mail (or read it wholesale, I suppose) in exchange for providing me contextually aware ads. What's that? A link to something my brother wants for Christmas? Maybe I'll shop there. Everyone wins, including my brother.

I'm willing to make a number of other trade-offs, even knowing that this data becomes more powerful in aggregate. If my phone beeps on Wednesday, noticing I didn't go home, but out to dinner instead, and asks me if I want to delay turning on the air conditioning, I'll accept that too in exchange for the return I get in terms of convenience.

I've weighed the value of my privacy against the services they return. I'm not a private person, and I know how to compartmentalize what they do and don't get from me. I like my end of the deal, and if I ever don't, I'll discontinue using their services.

Re:Don't care... (1)

GTRacer (234395) | about 4 months ago | (#45716549)

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 human comfort whilst we're away, occasional fan circ is nice, and timed heatup / cooldown around sleep cycles is NICE.

Re:Don't care... (2)

mythosaz (572040) | about 4 months ago | (#45716807)

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 something in return.

If it's a cool tool, for a fair price, and it leverages what Google already knows about me, great.

LERN2SPEEL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45715681)

What are editors for, again?

Predatory Monopoly (2)

xombo (628858) | about 4 months ago | (#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?

independent living for parents (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 4 months ago | (#45715737)

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).

Re:independent living for parents (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | about 4 months ago | (#45716553)

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."

Re:independent living for parents (1)

jodosh (1260096) | about 4 months ago | (#45717059)

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 enjoys being in the home that he and my mother built 30 years ago and he still gets out with friends. I wish I had a way to see that he left the range top on so I could help him stay even more safe, but for now and hopefully for the next few years assisted living would be a costly and unneeded situation for my father.

Can we officially rename Google to Go Ogle now? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716109)

Seriously.
Military robotics creepiness.
The NSA interface.
Bloody javascript that half the sites on the planet use.

Try this one for an icon:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-KEGRNnLpr0E/UoBwMbAQ44I/AAAAAAAACgo/da3bOkvbXMo/s1600/binoculars.png

Proliphix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716241)

I've had a Proliphix thermostat for years, which I can access and control over the internet. Nice android app, too. No not sure what the hoopla is about.

Sadly, Proliphix seems to have had a coup by marketing over engineering, in the Dilbert fashion.

WebApp runs through their servers (2)

watermark (913726) | about 4 months ago | (#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?

Internet connected toasters on the horizon (1)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 4 months ago | (#45716539)

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 against me. Additional complexity that can malfunction, break, get hacked or spy on me. Why in the hell would I want that?
Because its "new" and looks "cool'? I know how much energy my crappy old furnace uses and I know exactly when it is "on" .. it is impossible to miss.

If I want to save energy I'll freeze or invest in a furnace/heat pump. All I need is the ability to set an away schedule.

Of course they won't just accept a Bluetooth or local browser interface they all want to call home and have you register the damn things with a mothership.. after all of the epic security failures over the last few years effecting millions per failure this is exactly the kind of thing I want to do.

Finally I want a thermostat that works.. Nest is a great example of what happens when the primary goal of a device is "looking cool" while miserably failing to reliably perform its primary duty.

Venstar (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about 4 months ago | (#45716569)

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.

Won't have it in my home (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45716641)

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.

Temperature is only one factor (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 4 months ago | (#45716643)

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/

Misses the problem entirely (1)

kencurry (471519) | about 4 months ago | (#45716903)

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.

Raspberry pi anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#45717261)

I'm trying to solve this problem with a Raspberry PI (any other siilar device would be fine), a few theperature sensors
and a stepper motor meccanically connected to a very old thermostat that I cannot touch inside for legal and safety reasons (still at 220v)
A webcam would give additional feedback while not at home.
Newer thermostats work at 12v and make all much easier ( just a realy instead of the stepper motor to pull the wheel).

This would (in theory) allow to control the themperature based on the themperature of a specifc sensor at a specific time ( bedroom at night, living room in the day...) and to be controlled remotely ( very low when I'm away for long periods and starting to warm up early enough when I'm goign back home ( I may spend days away for business)

parts are substantially cheaper than any commercial producs (less than 100$), time is a bit more demanding but flexibility and privacy are unmatched.

is anybody considering a similar option?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...