Nest to Share User Data with Google for the First Time, Will Know If You’re Home or Not


For the first time since it joined the Google family, Nest labs will start sharing user information with its parent company. According to Matt Rogers, co-founder of Nest, the parent company will connect some of its applications to Nest, enough for Google to know whether its users are at home or not (via the WSJ).

Nest uk lifestyle living

Such connections will bring two major customer experience enhancements: first of all, you can adjust the temperature with a simple voice command to a Google mobile app, and secondly, by detecting your location, Google Now can set your home’s temperature based on your position. For example, it can determine whether you are heading home or not.

Customer privacy advocates can start making their case, although according to Rogers and Nest’s initial acquisition announcement, Nest takes privacy very seriously. And this won’t change, Rogers highlights.

Users will have to opt in for their information to be shared with Google, Rogers said. “We’re not becoming part of the greater Google machine,” he said.

The move is part of Nest’s effort to become the operating system for the smart home, as it will allow developers of appliances, light fixtures, and more to access user information. As the Nest announcement highlights, developers (Google included) will be able to access Home and Away states, peak energy rush hour events to build interesting and meaningful integrations, but customers need to authorize a connection before any data is shared.

Nest believes in being open and honest about how we use customer data and we do everything we can to protect customer information. For authorization, we use the industry standard OAuth2.0. In addition, we require that our developers let users know what information they’re requesting and why they’re requesting it. That way, when users choose to authorize a connection between their Nest device and another product, they understand exactly what they’re authorizing and how it will benefit them. Nest limits the amount of data held by developers by not sending them personally identifiable information about users or permitting them to retain more than ten trailing days of data. Users can choose to disconnect an integration at anytime. If for any reason they decide to delete their Nest account, Nest will automatically disconnect any active integrations, as well as erase their personal information from Nest servers.

Since Google’s privacy violations have made headlines over the past few years, privacy watchdogs will keep an eye on Nest and Google, but according to Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy at the Center of Democracy and Technology, if Nest users are properly informed and opt-in, he wouldn’t be concerned about a potential violation of privacy.


  • Aleksandar Matijaca

    I trust google less and less every day.

  • FragilityG4

    They do seem to have aspirations of taking over the world!

  • erth

    If you are not breaking the law, the passing of information is irrelevant. In fact, when i pull in the driveway, i want the garage door to open automatically and the pool heater on, and the air conditioner working and the coffee maker brewing. and the doors unlocked. Now, there may be issues, but until we start using it, we will never realize the benefits. (unless you are a axe murderer).

  • Al

    This is hilarious! These people who are freaking out about privacy clearly never grew up in a small town.

    And I’m sure the bajillionairs at Google are just dieing to break into my home and steal the TV that I got on sale at Walmart. And if they did… That’s what insurance is for.

    You can be like my paranoid neighbour who never uses the ATM “because big brother is watching”, or you can let go and enjoy the wonderful things that technology brings and quit stressing about all this nonsensical paranoia.

  • djepsilon

    I would tend to agree with you for the most part, but there is always the worry of information somehow getting into the wrong hands. With information theft becoming the new thing (as Sony knows all too well), it is a real possibility.

  • einsteinbqat

    So much for telling everyone that it wouldn’t happen, but still happens nonetheless. I’m not surprised that it happened, but what is your word worth as CEO when you promise your consumers that no sharing would occur to later backtrack?

  • That’s the issue here. They promised it wouldn’t happen and now it did. That’s why people are upset.

  • einsteinbqat

    Such a bad PR move!