Yesterday, Google announced its intention to buy smart thermostat maker Nest for just north of $3 billion. The intersocialwebs went ballistic on the potential evil that lurks behind the drywall of a Google/Nest thermostat.
Amidst the privacy panic were some who focused on the potential boon the Google/Nest connection could mean for the Internet of Things. I tend to fall into this pint half full group (because, let’s be honest, even a half full pint is better than an empty pint…unless there’s another pint on the way).
But I also think the Nest purchase signals something bigger and deeper in Google’s long term
business world domination strategy.
Pretend you’re Google for minute. Now imagine setting up what is arguably one of the most important and powerful companies in the world for the future. I’m talking about a future where code and connections are embedded in everything. A future where a company like Google has the power to turn all of those ones and zeros — however microscopic they may be — into information. What are the touchpoints you’d want to control? If you’re Google, you’re already telegraphing what those points are:
- Design. The creme de la creme of design in tech is Apple. Know where Nest’s DNA comes from? Apple. The acquisition infuses ~100 Apple-level designers into Google’s less-than-Apple-like UI efforts.
- Transportation. Driverless cars anyone? They aren’t just for mapping.
- Energy. Nest becomes a pilot for larger industrial-level products.
- Health. See Calico.
- Communications. Not just phone, but lots of other devices powered by Android. And blimps.
- Entertainment. Imagine YouTube with an iOS simple interface (no, not the abomination that is iTunes).
- Commerce. Google Wallet. Will Square be next on the market? Coin?
- Identity. Say what we will about Google+, there’s no underestimating the thundering momentum someone in Google’s position can create to drive adoption.
- Knowledge. Each of these markets funnels data into what has effectively become the Internet’s brain. Watch for smarter search, and more widespread translation.