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Google's Nest Buys Home Monitoring Camera Company Dropcam

Soulskill posted about 4 months ago | from the google-getting-big-in-your-home dept.

Businesses 82

rtoz writes: The popular home monitoring camera startup "Dropcam" will be acquired by Nest Labs, the maker of smart thermostats and smoke detectors. The deal is worth $555 million in cash. Nest itself was purchased by Google just four months ago for $3.2 billion. Dropcam is a cloud-based, Wi-Fi video monitoring service, founded in 2009. It lets users place cameras throughout a home for live-viewing and recording. The cameras also include options for night vision and two-way talking with built-in microphones. Dropcam has never disclosed sales, but it is routinely the top-selling security camera on Amazon, and it recently branched into selling in retail stores like Apple and Best Buy. People concerned about the privacy implications of Google's acquisition of Nest may be further unsettled by Nest's purchase of a home surveillance company. Nest's founder Matt Rogers anticipated this issue, and insisted that there's no reason to worry. In his blog post, he says that data won't be shared with anyone, including Google, without a customer's permission. Nest has run into product challenges recently.

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Not anyone, except, No Shit Arselock? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289423)

Sales dropped faster than quick...

Home surveillance too?

Better hide that donkey dick you may have before the peeping fagrats see it.

Re:Not anyone, except, No Shit Arselock? (4, Insightful)

Wonko the Sane (25252) | about 4 months ago | (#47289497)

Could Google be any more transparent as a willing and eager participant of the surveillance state?

It'd be nice if they'd at least pretend to hide what they are doing, so as to not so blatently insult our intelligence.

Re:Not anyone, except, No Shit Arselock? (4, Insightful)

StripedCow (776465) | about 4 months ago | (#47289603)

Here's a message to Google employees:
Find yourself a more meaningful job. Something in medicine, or in particle physics.
Or, just about anything outside of that shady advertisement business.

Re:Not anyone, except, No Shit Arselock? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 4 months ago | (#47289935)

That could really go for a lot of the people in what we still politely refer to as 'silicon valley' rather than 'social valley'.

Re:Not anyone, except, No Shit Arselock? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291799)

The surveillance state is going to happen. You're a fool to believe otherwise.

Keep your google jobs. It's better to be the one wearing the boot.

Re:Not anyone, except, No Shit Arselock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47295369)

In the words of a song, "... paranoia, paranoia, everybody's out to get me, say that you never met me..."

Re: Not anyone, except, No Shit Arselock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47293029)

Google already does both of those. Google flu, working with glucose sensors, and work with quantum computing just to name a few.

Re:Not anyone, except, No Shit Arselock? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 4 months ago | (#47290625)

also, did you miss in the news goog bought a satellite surveillance network? http://www.silicontap.com/goog... [silicontap.com]

Re:Not anyone, except, No Shit Arselock? (1)

Easy2RememberNick (179395) | about 4 months ago | (#47291509)

How dare they make me decide to and then eventually buy a camera against my will so they can watch a 4x8 foot patch of my driveway.

Re:Not anyone, except, No Shit Arselock? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47293655)

You're an idiot.

Re: Not anyone, except, No Shit Arselock? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289869)

>$555 million

Trips, nice.

Treasure what little time remains in your lives (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 4 months ago | (#47289427)

All your everything are belong to us!

(But we're NOT evil.)

Re:Treasure what little time remains in your lives (5, Funny)

craigminah (1885846) | about 4 months ago | (#47289529)

Reminds me of the Mars Attacks aliens saying "We come in peace, we mean you no harm" right before they pew-pewed everyone.

Re:Treasure what little time remains in your lives (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289641)

Reminds me of the Mars Attacks aliens saying "We come in peace, we mean you no harm" right before they pew-pewed everyone.

They also continued saying it even as they were pew-pewing

Re:Treasure what little time remains in your lives (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about 4 months ago | (#47289749)

The movie never established if that was their idea of a joke, or just a problem with the untested translation machine.

Re:Treasure what little time remains in your lives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289995)

Eh, I thought it was just a sign of amorality: who cares whether what you say is honest, as long as it works? The SS played calming classical music as they announced to the arriving Jews that they would be led to shower rooms, because, well, it kept people calm enough to do what they were told until it was too late.

Oh, and before you "Godwin!" me - that fallacy is really a way of stifling debate. I'm not saying that Google are like the Holocaust, of course, but to show that blatant, bald-face lies to reassure people are very effective - and all you have to do is feel no guilt in using them. If the late 20th century was the information age, where data is used for good and bad, then the 21st century is the psychology age, where all the techniques of manipulation are perfected in the pursuit of profit and control - without the need to set a finger on anyone(*).

(*) Unless they're particularly troublesome.

captcha: nonlocal

NSAdrop (1)

Greg666NYC (3665779) | about 4 months ago | (#47289451)

Let me guess. Privacy statement includes quotes like

"We will cooperate with local authorities"
"We will provide access when required by law"
"We will never compromise users data except when..."

so typical in totalitarian regimes.

Re:NSAdrop (4, Insightful)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47289571)

so typical in totalitarian regimes.

Google isn't the totalitarian regime.

It's one of the big players in the oligarchy which is taking over control of everything, but which is cozy with the nascent totalitarian regime which is forming all around us.

Once governments have access to ubiquitous information about everybody through government peering to bypass laws, and appropriation from corporations under secret order, and trade agreements which allow corporations to sue governments for lost revenue ... well, if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear, right?

Then you have totalitarian governments beholden to an oligarchy.

Sounds like some wacky fiction, don't it?

Re: NSAdrop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291895)

Riiiiight. You should try leaving your mom's basement sometime.

Re: NSAdrop (2)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47297951)

Riiiiight. You should try leaving your mom's basement sometime.

My Mom doesn't have a basement, you insensitive clod.

Re:NSAdrop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47293861)


Then you have totalitarian governments beholden to an oligarchy.

Isn't that called Fascism?

Just replace the word oligarchy with Fascism and you got it right. welcome to Nazi Amerika.

Drop Google, make this you default SE (1)

Mister Liberty (769145) | about 4 months ago | (#47294067)

https://startpage.com/

Foscam better. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289501)

I'm surprised Foscam isn't the #1 seller, I guess it comes down to marketing and looks for a lot of people. Foscam is less expensive and in some ways is superior (e.g. they don't limit features to upsell you on some bullshit cloud monitoring subscription).

Re: Foscam better. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289623)

Agreed. With dropcam you can't host it on your home server, if you want dvr it's $100 a year per camera. Foscam is way better.

Product Challenges? (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 4 months ago | (#47289503)

Clarity please. Does the submitter mean competition? Legal challenges to the product? Logistical challenges with the products?

Re:Product Challenges -clarified (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289531)

Clarity please. Does the submitter mean competition? Legal challenges to the product? Logistical challenges with the products?

It's clear submitter meant https://www.cpsc.gov/en/Recalls/2014/Nest-Labs-Recalls-to-Repair-Nest-Protect-Smoke-CO-Alarms/ [cpsc.gov] .

Consumer Product Safety Commission recalls are reasonably considered a product challenge.

without a customer's permission (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289517)

In other words customers can expect a future firmware upgrade with associated new terms and if they refuse them they will lose (at least) every feature which utilises a network.

WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (4, Interesting)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47289527)

Seriously... who in their right mind would involve Google in their home security?

Might as well just hire Big Brother.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (2)

genocitizen (2763555) | about 4 months ago | (#47289609)

I will reference this comment 5 years from now, with sales figure of "GoogleCam", just to make a point.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47289959)

Google have had their success with search and Android. But their failures have been far more numerous. Google+, GoogleWave, Google Reader, Google Talk, Google Health, Google Answers etc. And Google Glass seems to be on the continuous beta path to being abandoned too.

Re: WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

beanpoppa (1305757) | about 4 months ago | (#47292769)

Your right. search and Android are their only successes. Oh, you forgot to mention all their other failures like Gmail, maps, Google apps, chrome, hangouts, chrome cast, etc.

Re: WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (0)

BasilBrush (643681) | about 4 months ago | (#47293385)

Oh I left plenty out. Google X, Google Catalog, Web Accelerator, Google Video Player, Google Audio Ads, Jaiku, Google Page Creator, Google Zeitgeist, Google Buzz...

Most people don't remember then because they were all failures too.

Re: WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47294105)

Oh, you forgot to mention all their other failures like Gmail, maps, Google apps, chrome, hangouts, chrome cast, etc.

People are moving away from Google Apps in droves. I only use Chrome for a few very specific things... I generally get along just fine with Firefox, which doesn't snoop on me. Chrome OS can hardly be called a "success" yet. They've made a few sales... but I've seen more chrome notebooks on sale at the bargain-basement discount houses than anywhere else, suggesting that those really weren't successful, either.

When Google "consolidated" their services under one account, people jumped away from hangouts, too. And Chromecast is too new to call it a success. There is lots of competition in that market, and some of the other devices are better AND cheaper.

Most of the people who like Google services are people do don't seem to care about the pervasive snooping. Well, fine. Let them be suckers. I'm not one of those people.

Re: WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#47297969)

Your right. search and Android are their only successes. Oh, you forgot to mention all their other failures like Gmail, maps, Google apps, chrome, hangouts, chrome cast, etc.

Don't forget their ad business. Google Ads, AdMob, DoubleClick, etc.

You can bet most ads distributed are provided by Google or a company owned by Google whom Google seems to distance themselves from.

I mean, Google Ads, Google DoubleClick, Google AdMob, ...

And wasn't it Google Nest that introduced "innovative" ad media, like say, thermostats?

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47294075)

I will reference this comment 5 years from now, with sales figure of "GoogleCam", just to make a point.

And what would that point be? That many people are, indeed, insane? If not, then what?

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (2)

IonOtter (629215) | about 4 months ago | (#47289695)

It's not that Google thinks that people are that insane?

They know for a fact that people are that ignorant of the danger. And they aren't going to do anything to dissuade people of that fact. Keeping the masses ignorant of the danger is how they've made so much money, and will continue to make so much money.

Because at the end of the day, if people have to choose between getting shiny new toys that will give them the delusion of being cool, or living without them, the majority will choose the shiny new toys. They can't help it, after all? It's actually a function of evolution: bird with the prettiest feathers gets the most mates and all that.

While I detest what they've done, I have to commend Google for subverting both common sense *and* evolution at the same time.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (3, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47289715)

I have to commend Google for subverting both common sense *and* evolution at the same time.

Amazing how much evil you can do with a motto which says do no evil.

Evil inc., we're the good guys, honest

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (0)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 4 months ago | (#47290449)

Please outline the evil Google has done.

You know, actual events, not your imagined slights because somewhere, somehow, they might someday do something.

Re: WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290587)

Watch the recent PBS Frontline two parter: The United States of Secrets.

The second episode talks about complicity of US tech firms w/r/t warrantless surveillance. Google gmail was discussed.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290589)

Yeah! and while we're at it, what evil has the NSA done? All they do is collect data.

I mean, they're just doing a job, right? And getting paid for a job. Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down? That's not their department.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47294129)

Please outline the evil Google has done.

In all honesty, this comment astounds me. Have you been living in a cardboard box?

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 4 months ago | (#47295005)

Please outline the evil Google has done.

In all honesty, this comment astounds me. Have you been living in a cardboard box?

The number of responses restating that "no they're evil, you're stupid if you can't see it" is exactly my point.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47290041)

Seriously... who in their right mind would involve Google in their home security?

Doesn't seem very secure to me anyways.... it relies on the internet for video feed ---- so, if the network connection goes down (As it often does.... darn unreliable ISPs).... oops.... vital footage won't be recorded.

The /ideal/ security cam solution would record to both multiple local and remote destinations of choice, to prevent camera from being stopped by disconnecting internet ---- and also to ensure remote backup, in case the intruder takes an axe to the local DVR in attempt to destroy footage.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 4 months ago | (#47290645)

i think that the definition of ideal changes on the situation. What situations require a camera that records to multiple local and remote destinations not fixed to a central service?

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47290893)

What situations require a camera that records to multiple local and remote destinations not fixed to a central service?

The point is anything dependant on an internet WAN link and proper IP connectivity to a distant cloud service is fragile and unreliable, due to the possibly unreliable WAN, or the possibility of IP routing issues on the public internet.

Compared to a short LAN run to a local DVR.

With a backup battery to help against the often unreliable electric utility.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 4 months ago | (#47290939)

your "ideal" solution is also very expensive and time consuming and hard to use. I could go to the apple store and come back with an arm full of drop cams and set them all up while you're trying the IP bandwidth routing issue on your "ideal" system.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

mysidia (191772) | about 4 months ago | (#47291149)

while you're trying the IP bandwidth routing issue on your "ideal" system.

Huh? That didn't make any sense.

If you have an IP bandwidth issue with the NVR-based system such as Ubiquiti AirVision2; you will also have an IP bandwidth issue with the dropcams.

The dropcam is not a magic solution which defeats fundamental laws of networking and lets you transfer data without consuming bandwidth. They're no faster or to setup, either

The laws of physics and mathematics will be satisfied by any system you setup.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

Noah Haders (3621429) | about 4 months ago | (#47291353)

ur mom is faster than setting up a drop cam.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 4 months ago | (#47294115)

i think that the definition of ideal changes on the situation. What situations require a camera that records to multiple local and remote destinations not fixed to a central service?

Any situation that requires remote feeds in a way that actually deserves the label "security". Anything else is a toy camera.

Re:WTF? Does Google think people are that insane? (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about 4 months ago | (#47290443)

Who in their right mind would have used Dropcam in their home to start with?

The news here certainly isn't Google buying it...

Good+Security (1)

phorm (591458) | about 4 months ago | (#47296931)

People who don't realize the product belongs to the big G? Not to mention those that have already bought the product.

With all these takeovers, I wonder how many products actually have any sort of Google branding visible at the time of purchase.

Wow (1)

gstoddart (321705) | about 4 months ago | (#47289549)

I'm watching the tubes, I'm in ur thermostat, and I'm lookin in ur spycam, I r big brother

What could possibly go wrong?

How long before Google and a handful of other companies can more or less monitor, analyze, measure, and monetize every aspect of what you do in your own home and everywhere else? And then pretty much own the data, and be compelled to hand it to government agencies.

Where is Blank Reg [imdb.com] when you need him?

Time for another layer of tinfoil.

You can never trust companies (5, Insightful)

mbone (558574) | about 4 months ago | (#47289559)

In his blog post, he says that data won't be shared with anyone, including Google, without a customer's permission.

You can, at least at times, trust people, especially ones you know well. A person's word may mean something.

You can, however, never trust companies unless you have a contractual relation with them (and, at times, not even then). A company's word is meaningless. Times change, people change, and what was impossible can become all too easy. The day will come, for example, when Mr Rogers is no longer at Dropcam / Nest / Google, and his successor may feel differently (or may be ordered to feel differently) about this.

This is without mentioning the elastic definitions of "permission" used at times on the Internet.

Re:You can never trust companies (1)

pitchpipe (708843) | about 4 months ago | (#47289587)

I don't even read any assurances from Rogers, just weasel words like what the NSA says:

Nest's founder Matt Rogers anticipated this issue, and insisted that there's no reason to worry. In his blog post, he says that data won't be shared with anyone, including Google, without a customer's permission.

Probably in the fine print that by using the product you have given permission, and if you don't want to give permission you need to opt-out by sending a letter through the USPS. Oh, and it must be received on a day when there is a full moon, signed in blood, and sealed with the king's seal.

In this day-and-age of corporate spying you must always assume the worst.

Nest's promise is a pinky promise (1)

Trachman (3499895) | about 4 months ago | (#47289759)

Legally, Matt Roger's promise is worthless. If google owns nest, then everything, all the assets, including chairs, notes and employee ideas are also owned by google. In addition, to that sooner or later such company will be financially consolidated to google consolidated financial statements. Consolidated financial statements are often linked to Company's general ledger, which often is managed by the same enterprise system which also records the sales. Sales recording system will all the customer information. Nest's promise is a pinky promise.

Re:You can never trust companies (1)

sudon't (580652) | about 4 months ago | (#47306107)

without mentioning the elastic definitions of "permission" used at times on the Internet.

Exactly. The permission will be buried at the end of a long Terms of Service Agreement the customer has to click on.

You know, I just had the experience last night, of not being able to use my PS3 until I downloaded and installed an update. And to get the update, I of course had to click on the Terms of Service Agreement. It's not like you have much of a choice.

Privacy policy (5, Informative)

QuietLagoon (813062) | about 4 months ago | (#47289599)

From the summary:

...he says that data won't be shared with anyone, including Google, without a customer's permission. ...

What he actually says is:

...Like Nest customer data, Dropcam will come under Nest’s privacy policy, which explains that data won’t be shared with anyone (including Google) without a customer’s permission....

What Nest's privacy policy actually says is:

We pledge to: ... Ask your permission before sharing your Personally Identifiable Information with third parties for purposes other than to provide Nest’s services,

Notice how, we won't share your data with anyone without your permission in the article suddenly morphs into we won't share your personally identifiable information with anyone in the actual privacy policy statement?

What about the other non-personally identifiable data, like when my house is empty? Or how many people are in the house? etc, etc.

Re:Privacy policy (1)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 4 months ago | (#47289673)

From the summary:

...he says that data won't be shared with anyone, including Google, without a customer's permission. ...

What he actually says is:

...Like Nest customer data, Dropcam will come under Nest’s privacy policy, which explains that data won’t be shared with anyone (including Google) without a customer’s permission....

What Nest's privacy policy actually says is:

We pledge to: ... Ask your permission before sharing your Personally Identifiable Information with third parties for purposes other than to provide Nest’s services,

Notice how, we won't share your data with anyone without your permission in the article suddenly morphs into we won't share your personally identifiable information with anyone in the actual privacy policy statement?

What about the other non-personally identifiable data, like when my house is empty? Or how many people are in the house? etc, etc.

I've read their policy, and I've been keeping an eye on it because I'm so wary of Google (I have a Nest thermostat, and some Protects all acquired before the purchase so my concern is a bit more than theoretical).
That being said, their privacy policy says, We may share your aggregated and anonymous information in a variety of ways, including to publish trends about energy use and conservation, to help utilities provide demand-response services and to generally improve our system. We’ve taken steps to ensure that the information cannot be linked back to you and we require our partners to keep all information in its anonymous form so what's the big deal if the information is aggregated saying A house somewhere is empty between 1 and 5pm and the temp has risen to 81 degrees, etc? As long it's anonymous, I don't care.

Don't trust the article. Read the privacy policies [nest.com] and they are consistent. The next version might be different as that'll be the first post-Google one.

Re:Privacy policy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289815)

"We may share your aggregated and anonymous information in a variety of ways, including to publish trends about energy use and conservation" ...

First they said "aggregated and anonymous information" not "aggregated, anonymous information" so they are talking about two separate things: aggregated information is one, and anonymous information is another. Anonymous information doesn't include your name, but your name can be correlated with it by knowing any unique part of it. This subtle difference in English usage is designed to be misunderstood by people reading the policy.

Second they say "including to" instead of "only for the purpose of". Giving a list of approved uses doesn't prevent them from using your data in any other way. This again is designed to trick people into feeling their data will only be used for those purposes. The only purpose of listing out a few approved uses is to put your mind at ease without promising anything at all.

Third they say "we’ve taken steps to ensure that the information cannot be linked back to you" not "we ensure that the information cannot be linked back to you". This again is not a promise that your information is anonymous, only that they took "steps". Their steps could be to spell your name in pig-latin or any other less-than-effective measure.

If they want to be trusted by anybody other than fools they must spell out all ways your data will be used and what steps they take to make it anonymous and make themselves liable for violations. Their policy is just a whitewash.

Re:Privacy policy (1)

Rick Zeman (15628) | about 4 months ago | (#47290401)

They also say "may."

Re: Privacy policy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291757)

Another thing too is that often the communication between a lawyer (legal team) and a company isn't always 100% crystal clear.

A client only wants to ask "so are you sure we can legally do THIS?" so many times especially if the answer from the lawyer is a synonym of "yes."

So just because the privacy policy is written one way doesn't mean that the company understands it exactly to the letter, especially with how vague things can be for all parties.

I think it's best to assume that if a company CAN do something, they will do it. Most won't but the assumption helps.

Re:Privacy policy (2)

mbone (558574) | about 4 months ago | (#47289955)

As long it's anonymous, I don't care.

It is surprisingly hard to anonymize data, and I would not trust anyone who claims to do so. This is just the metadata problem all over again.

To be useful at all, this data has to be tied to geography and time somehow, and also last for at least a while. So, suppose I anonymize thermostat data to zip code, so it might provide information like, in zip code X house Y with a 2 zone system the owners went on vacation during the spring break for the X county public school system, etc. It doesn't take too much of this to identify a specific house or family, especially if (as Google may well have) you have other information, such as knowledge that a power spike similar to (say) an Apple Mac tower system in area X being turned on occurs at the same time as IP address Z (also in area X) starts using the Internet, or that family A bought plane tickets for a flight that left 2.5 hours after the house thermostat was put into vacation mode.

So, you can do what you want, but I would ignore assurances of anonymization.

Re:Privacy policy (1)

TheRecklessWanderer (929556) | about 4 months ago | (#47289817)

Google wouldn't buy something in my opinion if they couldn't use it to make money off their core business, which is marketing your information to their customers. Note: You are not their customer. You are their product.

Re:Privacy policy (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 4 months ago | (#47291885)

The easiest way to get a customer's permission is to simply do what Google did and "unify" the privacy policy of everything.

Google did it to enable sharing of data between services. Google can easily do it again. And you can bet Google did it "with the customer's permission" because well, the alternative was giving it all up - either you agree ("give permission") or you don't (close your account).

Given a choice like this, Google will get 99% of the permission they require. And Google can easily do it again - by asking customers agree to the new privacy policy or give persmission to do so. Yes, the thermostat would work, and the camera would work, but the most compelling features of it won't until you agree. So you'll just end up with a very expensive dumb thermostat, and an IP camera. No features like easy to use remote control, remote monitoring, etc. (Of course, you could buy the same much cheaper from someone else, but the enhanced features you bought it for require the new agreement).

That's the real reason why the words are useless - because it's REALLY easy to get "permission" when you force the customer's hand by withdrawing the features they know and love until they agree. And they'll click "Agree" just to get their remote control/monitoring features back.

don't trust it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289653)

I don't trust dropcam one bit

"without a customer's permission" (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 4 months ago | (#47289665)

Said 'permission' is on page 82 of a 346 page EULA, which if you do not agree you cannot use the attached software for the cameras.

I have closed my Gmail and Hotmail accounts (1)

Trachman (3499895) | about 4 months ago | (#47289705)

I did closed my "free" email accounts. I cant believe that Google et al. expects that not only we will let somebody else to control thermostat in our home but also install google cameras and google TV's on our refrigerators and other "things". Trust once lost can never be un-broken. I know that I am a minority, but I still cannot comprehend how so many people are ok with so much intrusion to the privacy. All of the house controls and security can and should be done without service providers, if any, knowing their customers.

Re: I have closed my Gmail and Hotmail accounts (2)

cunina (986893) | about 4 months ago | (#47290853)

I share your sentiments entirely, but the problem with "free" email services is that even if you don't use it, everyone else does. Most of your emails are being read on the recipients' end regardless of how you get your own mail.

Color me shocked (1)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 4 months ago | (#47289791)

What is funny about this whole thing is that the same privacy "advocates" who pretend to be so outraged at the mere possibility of being spied upon are the same people who constantly ask me why I haven't bought a Nest yet or installed an Internet-enabled home security system.

Truth is, there are smarter thermostats than the Nest out there already, that do not require any communications at all except with the HVAC system, and a security system need not hand your video over to a marketing company in order to be effective.

Internetting things for the sake of Internetting things was always and is now a terrible idea.

Re: Color me shocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289879)

I don't get it either. Rhetorical question: why does a smoke detector or thermostat need to transmit data to centrally located corporate servers?

The companies like Nest have an opportunity to sell data to energy companies from the thermometers, for instance, but the customer gains little, if anything, directly. It's not like the devices are super cheap, so the gains aren't passed on to the consumers.

A thermometer with AI doesn't need to connect to corporate servers, sorry. If the consumer has to opt-in that's one thing but if you can't control such behavior, let the ignorant masses adopt it first and see what happens if/when shiney gadget obsession goes awry.

Re: Color me shocked (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47291769)

I totally agree, these things have no business sending data anywhere, especially to external corporate servers.

I said a few years ago that if toasters start being wifi connected and showing me ads, I'm going to move somewhere in the middle of Thailand. When Google wants to know how I like my toast, I resign myself from this society, man.

Google buys home monitoring co dropcam (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47289943)

Well, of course they do.

without a customer's permission (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | about 4 months ago | (#47289975)

"Customer's permission" is newspeak for terms of service buried two links deep and five pages of microtext from the top in a section labeled "beware of leopard"

Why $555 million (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47290837)

Because $666 million would have looked evil.

Who cares? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47291443)

Drop cam isn't that great... its impossible to record anything without paying for a subscription fee which is silly. I have a computer with an internet connection... a live stream to my harddrive is all I need. heck the whole thing should work within my internal office network indifferent to whether the gateway connects to the internet at all.

Lots of IP cameras on the market and most of them don't trap you into more cloud services subscription dependence-ware.

I don't buy tech things to chain myself to companies. I buy stuff because it makes me freer or more powerful or something positive.

The NEST is cool... drop cams are garbage. Good quality hardware and good quality software but a business plan that ruins it all.

An additional note on the nest, they don't work on Radiant Heat systems... I really wanted one of those but the dumb things can't handle a radiant heat system. So "oh well"... Guess I have to use some Honeywell retrograde relic-ware.... nothing to be done for it.

Re:Who cares? (1)

DaHat (247651) | about 4 months ago | (#47291849)

its impossible to record anything without paying for a subscription fee which is silly

Do you think that is by accident?

Despite the company name, they are in the cloud storage business... the cameras they sell are just a way to encourage you to use them to store your data... little different from a locked down phone which can only buy apps/music/movies from a single store.

The big upshot they have though... is that their cameras require no on-prem services which can go down just as easily (if not more so) than your router & cable/dsl modem.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 4 months ago | (#47292005)

I don't see why I should care... the point is that the product is unreasonably expensive especially over time.

Not to worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47293255)

The fact that you have to assure people that Google will not invade their privacy, only reflects upon their data mining nature..
Telling people not to worry.. is worrying

I don't get it, Dropcam is 90% just a reseller (1)

RubberDogBone (851604) | about 4 months ago | (#47294337)

All of Dropcam's hardware is just stuff they get from OEMs in Shenzhen. They don't make it themselves, and in fact, the exact same hardware is sold by other camera vendors. But far more significant than the direct clones, there are also lots of not identical but still competing products that are just as good that go for a lot less.

The camera market is very cutthroat and low profit. Dropcam has no advantage here, not even name, because most people still haven't heard of them.

The only thing unique about Dropcam is the SaaS side but they don't do anything that could not be duplicated by others if they wanted to do it. Mostly nobody duplicates it because lots of IP camera customers just don't need that kind of service.

So what did Nest buy and why? A camera company selling generic OEM cameras you can source anywhere, or a SaaS company selling services that can be duplicated easily? It makes no sense to me.

Re:I don't get it, Dropcam is 90% just a reseller (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47298173)

The SaaS is everything.

Market an easy-to-use fancy looking gadget with a regular monthly subscription service that is dead simple to use and has mobile apps, and you have a goldmine.

Stop thinking that everyone can just grab an IP phone, setup a home PVR, install some software which does video analysis recognition of movement and learns/categorizes movements, integrate email and SMS alerts and just use "off the shelf" "generic" components to do all of this.

Forgetting that you need to host a server, deal with storage, monitor that, defeat typical home NAT systems for hosting, setup public DNS, write your own mobile app or some web GUI, etc.

Yea. Sure. There's absolutely no market for the 99.9% of internet users who don't know anything about any of that.

You're a fool

Nest expensive crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47294349)

The Nest learning thermostat. You can be a dummy and use it. You can use it with your smartphone. A $700 smartphone and a $300 thermostat, and even a dummy can do stuff like turn the temperature up in your house. ....and my thoughts are: "You pay $1000 to turn the heat up in your house, you really are a dummy". And that's how it was when I walked through a Home Depot, and saw one, and showed my dad the price $300. And he said WOW! and some guy comes by and says "Oh but its soooo much more than a thermostat, you don't need to know *ANYTHING* and it will figure it all out. You don't need to read any manual or have more than half a neuron in your entire head to make this go." And I said "But I already own a $30 Honeywell that already does all of this" And he replied "You can't take out your $700 smart phone and change the temperature in your house from Kuala Lumpur." And that is true. I would have to have more than half a neuron floating around in my head and set the temperature to an average 'away from home for weeks or months, possibly even for a change in season' sort of way. And I can do that in 5 seconds. But spending $30 is not nearly as much fun as spending $1000 (I don't happen to own a smart phone). So yeah Nest. Go buy one, along with "long distance internet security for dummies".

Re: Nest expensive crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47296217)

LOL

The Nest thermostats seem cool but unnecessary especially given the quiet data collection running behind the scenes.

Maybe I'm weird but I'm not interested in this "big data" creepy tracking trend especially in home automation. Given these costs, there's not much to gain.

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