The minute Google bought Nest, it was inevitable that some of the company’s fans would recoil, particularly those who are also fans of Apple. The Seattle Times has interviewed two former Nest fans who are disturbed by the Google acquisition, however their concerns seem much more about privacy than blatant fanboy-ism.
Marc Rotenberg, president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and a frequent Google critic, tells The Seattle Times that he plans on returning his Nest and shopping around for a new thermostat because “Google doesn’t respect boundaries.” Specifically he cited Google’s decision to merge data and information from all its services, from Gmail to Google+ to search, into one giant trove of information on its users. Adding data on when we leave and enter our homes, he said, would be the most intrusive yet.
Freelance tech writer and longtime Nest user David Chartier similarly said that he’s shopping around for a new thermostat in the wake of the Google acquisition. What disturbs him about Google, he says, is the way it’s always changing the rules of how it’s using our data, such as when it recently ruffled some feathers when it changed the default settings on Gmail to make it so that anyone who views your Google+ account can send you an email.
“We sign up for one or more services, and the (terms of service) to which we agree state Google will do X, Y and Z with the information we hand over,” he says. “Then down the road it adds A, B and C, which were never part of the original deal or even scope of possibilities. A year later it tosses on D, E and F, to which you must agree if you are going to continue using these services that now contain increasingly important portions of your work and personal data.”