Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Turmoil Within Google: Nest That Wasn't, Time to Sell It Off, And Holding Off on the Smart Home

After reading this Arschnica post on the tumultuous period between Google's acquisition of Nest and last Friday's firing of its former CEO, Tony Fadell, AKA "the godfather of the iPod", the missteps Nest took, and the power struggle within the Alphabet company, the take away seems to be that making and launching a product is not as easy as Apple, Google, and a few others make it seem despite having almost unlimited resources and smarts.  And that perhaps, even as I go through my home improvements, my decision to go very slow with smarting up my home is the right one.

Take some of the failed products like Nest's smoke alarm as an example.  Or the discontinuation of Revolv hub device. These are big name and products that you'd think you can trust and rely on.  But not so.  And walking through the small section of home improvement stores like Home Depot, it is tempting to get on my phone, read a couple of reviews of the products they sell, and pick the ones that seem to work best.

But you never know what will happen next to these companies and their products.  As far as the smart home is concerned, it just feels like there is first a land grab by dozens of small companies hoping to gain some market share and name recognition before the big boys come in and snatch them up or just muscle them out of the market entirely.  I've also looked at products from Honeywell, GE, and a few others but there does not appear to be any comprehensive solution.

Sure you have Echo from Amazon but Google just announced their competing Google Home.  Who knows what Apple will offer this year or in the years to come. The real issue here is what is a smart home.  And that is what all these companies are struggling with.  Being able to control the lights or opening/closing your front door with your smartphone does not make your home smart.  But with Echo, Google Now, and other potential AI just barely beginning to show signs of "intelligence", we will have to wait a few years before knowing what smart tech really is and can do for us to make our lives eaiser.

For now, I say wait.  There is no hurry at all.  The Next issues within Google may not have anything to do with power grabs, personalities, or other corporate nonsense but that no one knows where we are headed just yet with smart tech.

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