It’s always fun to speculate every time Major Corporation A buys Huge Technological Thing from Major Corporation B, especially since so much of the reasoning depends on top-secret, forward-thinking projections that neither corporation can make public due to investor considerations. So, that makes Google’s purchase of Nest from Alphabet all the more interesting.
Wait, what? Alphabet IS Google, and they came up with Nest in the first place!
Not exactly. Google still exists under the umbrella of Alphabet, and it’s making a killing as the search-engine-plus-web-advertising arm of things. Yes, Nest existed before Google restructured to include Alphabet, and to make things even more confusing, Google bought Nest Labs in 2014 for over $3 billion. Now, however, Google has bought the rest of the deal, Nest Developers, from Alphabet and brought it over to its own side of things.
So here’s where the interwebs are going nuts with speculation. First, it’s that the under performance of Nest is due to some angst within the company, specifically in some of the leadership, so they’ve packed their things and walked across the street to work with a different team in the company. Probably not an incredibly likely scenario, but one that could have a hint of truth to it.
More likely is the excitement some industry watchers are currently feeling over Google Home, the company’s attempt to compete with Amazon’s Echo. But the beauty of Echo/Alexa is that Amazon lets others do the legwork for them. Lights, thermostats, shopping lists, reading aloud from your Kindle, the ability to tell you where your phone is if you laid it down somewhere, etc…those are things that outside developers have created to work with Echo.
Google has its hands full trying to create something that will compete, but it carries one very big burden on its shoulders: data gathering. As it turns out, consumers are a little wary of having the search engine giant track everything they do in the privacy of their own homes (hey, we saw Terminator 2! August 29th will forever be the date that SkyNet became self-aware!). By bringing Nest under Google and the team behind Google Home, the company very well be creating something that can actually compete with the hundreds of people developing for Echo.