Why Google's Purchase of Nest is a Good Thing


It's no secret that we're huge Nest fans here at AAAD. We're also, obviously, huge Apple fans. 

So when word got out last week that Google was paying three and a half BILLION dollars for Nest, the AAAD household had to deal with some cognitive dissonance. 

How can we love Apple *and* the Google-ified Nest?

Turns out it's easy. Read on. 

I spent the first week after the Nest acquisition going back and forth in my head on the ramifications. 

Does this mean that Nest will forsake iOS to become Android-only? 

No way. Google has been very good at releasing iOS versions of their services. 

Is it possible that Android users will see some Nest features that iOS users don't? 

Maybe. It's possible that Google will leverage Nest to push Android tablets by adding some new features to the Android Nest app.

Given that I'm putting together an iOS home, does this mean I need to reconsider Nest?

No way. In fact, Google acquiring Nest may be the BIG TRIGGER EVENT that leads to a unified platform for home automation.   

Ultimately, I think that the Google/Nest acquisition will be good for Nest, for home automation, and (most importantly) for consumers.

Acting alone, neither Google nor Nest were really capable of grasping the big prize that they want - a fully-automated, single-system connected home, running on THEIR operating system.

Google's Power, Nest's Panache

Google has the resources to bully the market into a single standard, but they lack panache. Not to denigrate Google, but style isn't their forte. 

Google has released a TON of fantastic, free software over the years... In fact, more so than any other company I can imagine. Think of how much your life has been changed by Google Maps. Think of how your life has been changed by Google search

The import of those apps is so massive that when Maps was removed from iOS 6, people freaked out. When people fire up a browser and Google isn't the default search engine, they are literally offended

They are a money machine. The counterweight to Apple. 

And at the same time, Google's record in releasing physical hardware has been poor-to-dismal. It's not for lack of trying, but Google has yet to manufacture a compelling physical with the power to stir consumer's souls. 

Google TV, Google Glass, even the Google Nexus phones and tablets.... the general consensus is "really nice stuff! Kinda plasticky." (I'll fully admit that the Chromebook Pixel is a "stir the soul" kind of product - but it's barely a mass-market product. It's more like a concept car.)

Google dominates with software, but so far, has failed to pull the Apple trick of releasing products that  *lead* the market to a single standard. 

Nest, on the other hand has demonstrated that they can seize a major portion of a market, based solely on the power of their design prowess and (outstanding) taste. Tony Fadell pulled that design trick at Apple with the iPod, and then he did it at Nest.

That's what Google is buying, here. The kind of design prowess that can rally consumers to support your platform. 

The Nest Platform

Nest recently announced plans to publish an API for third parties to join their ecosystem. However, if you were a third party, why would you dedicate your resources to ensuring compatibility with the proprietary standards set forth by a small company like Nest?  

Nest had panache, but it didn't have the size or market power to rally all competing standards around their flag.

This is why so many people wanted Apple to buy Nest - Apple has both the juggernaut power AND the design panache to completely center the market around their standards. 

(For example, AirPlay is becoming a de-facto music streaming standard.... Did you ever think you'd see the day when Sony gave up on proprietary schemes and simply incorporated Apple's music streaming protocol?)

Now that Nest is a Google company, my hope is that all of the remaining dominoes fall into place. 

Nest will do as they always planned to do - release their API, providing for a single platform for home automation. 

But now they're a "Nest, a Google Company", so third parties which may have been on the fence will know that Nest is a safe bet - they aren't going away any time soon. 

As Nest adoption increases, interconnectivity with Google/Nest's ecosystem will become a sales booster, and then a sales prerequisite. 

In a year, "Works With Nest" may be as ubiquitous in home automation circles as "Works with iPod" was in music products 6 years ago.

I hope so, anyway. Now let's see which lighting control company jumps on board first!


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