June 24, 2014
Nest Labs is set to share some user data with Google for the first time since the "smart home" company was acquired by the Internet giant for $3.2 billion several months ago. The news comes on the heels of the launch of the Nest Developer Program, which enables other companies and developers to build products and services that work with the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector. One of these so-called "Works with Nest" integrations happens to be an upcoming one with Google's intelligent personal assistant, Google Now, which is available through the Google Search app on iOS. Coming this fall, the Nest-Google integration will allow users to set the temperature of their homes via voice commands prefaced with "OK Google." It will also enable Google Now to automatically set the temperature once it detects, using its location-tracking features, that a user is about to arrive home. Reporting on user privacy issues that the data sharing, particularly with Google, raises, The Wall Street Journal quotes Nest co-founder and engineering head Matt Rogers:
Matt Rogers, a co-founder of the smart-thermostat maker, said in an interview that Google will connect some of its apps to Nest, allowing Google to know when Nest users are at home or not. Users will have to opt in for their information to be shared with Google, Rogers said. “We’re not becoming part of the greater Google machine,” he said.According to Rogers, Nest's integration with Google will be like any other third party. Nest will not share users' names, email addresses, or home addresses with other companies when users link their Nest devices to third-party accounts. What's more, users can easily unlink the devices using the Nest Mobile app.