The story in the New York Times this week was unsettling: The New America Foundation, a major think tank, was getting rid of one of its teams of scholars, the Open Markets group. New America had warned its leader Barry Lynn that he was “imperiling the institution,” the Times reported, after he and his group had repeatedly criticized Google, a major funder of the think tank, for its market dominance.
When I first read that Google bought Nest for nearly 3 billion dollars, my initial reaction was, I hope they don’t screw it up. Because, I really love my Nest thermostats. As I had more time to process the news, I began to worry that, based on Google’s history, I would somehow be participating in an experiment designed to prove just how much privacy the average Nest user would be willing to sacrifice for comfort and to save some energy. I also wondered would Nest have fared better being purchased by Apple? Then again, I don’t own an Android phone (all iPhone since trading in my Blackberry Bold) and I reluctantly use Chrome on my MacBook Air ( it’s really the only choice). Perhaps I’m biased against Google? and that’s why I had a negative reaction to Google buying Nest. I’m sure there are many people equally biased against Apple, so that begs the question, would Nest been better off on their own ? I can see the benefit of being part of a huge data powerhouse like Google, but unless these benefits are passed along to the consumer, with out too big of a privacy hit, this deal may go down as a big mistake. I’m not a pessimist by nature so I’d like to see this work out beneficially for all parties. Let’s give this union a few months to solidify and then take another look to see what changes occur and what they mean for Nest, Google and most importantly the consumer.
Ever since Robocop made its film début, little boys everywhere wanted to have a heads up display on the world. It looks like the Google founders were no different, because project glass is just that. The idea of having the world be part augmented reality part cinema verite has some very real advantages. For example imagine being able to navigate the streets of a foreign city without having to refer to a map on your phone while being able to snap photos and video along your journey. These are ideas that are very easy to visualize because they are a very pragmatic use of the technology. I’m interested in what will come from this technology, that’s not pragmatic but revolutionary. Much like what the internet did to every industry known to humanity. The one thing that may pose and problem for project glass is the way the glasses look. Part of Google’s effort to make the glasses more commonplace has been to make one of the founders wear the glasses anytime he’s out in public. While the glasses are somewhat sleek and svelte looking, I can’t help to think that Sergey looks a bit like a high-tech pirate with them on. I hope that looks won’t kill a project as potentially revolutionary as project glass… What do you think, will fashion get in the way of the Robocob revolution?