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  1. Akshay Masand's Avatar

    Nest Labs, the makers of the Nest Learning Thermostat and Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector, recently announced that it will be opening its smart home platform to third-party developers and partners, which includes parent company Google. Cofounder Matt Rogers said the Nest Developer Program will allow other smart home product makers and app developers to connect with Nest smart thermostat to make whole-home automation a reality.

    The open API should allow for personalized, automated experiences instead of sifting through proprietary apps and setting panels. For example, a connected Jawbone UP24 band can sense when its users wakes up, signaling Nest to turn on the lights and warm the house.

    As noted by the folks over at The Wall Street Journal, parent company Google has already integrated with Nest to expand Google Now’s functionality to support temperature adjustments. Of course, with the opening of Nest’s platform, the firm must share a certain amount of information gathered by its devices, something that doesn’t sit well with privacy advocates. More specifically, Google’s views on user data harvesting as applied to the company’s huge targeted ad business made critics uneasy when Nest Labs was purchased by Google for $3.2 billion in January.

    The program seems to already have a number of “Works with Nest” integrations running, including LIFX light bulbs, Whirlpool appliances, Jawbone’s UP24 fitness band and select Mercedes-Benz cars, though integration doesn’t appear to be incredibly deep. Currently, the technology is being used to control on/off functions, though future implementations could harness deeper user metrics for added personalization.

    Although nest is granting use of certain Nest Learning Thermostat functions, Rogers told Forbes that access to data from on-board motion sensors will be restricted. He mentioned the following regarding the matter:

    We've been building it for about a year. One reason it's taken us this long to build is we realized we had to be incredibly transparent with our user about data privacy.
    Rogers said Nest plans to task a small team with vetting apps and how they would potentially link to Nest’s platform. He went further by saying Google Now won’t be able to harvest user data for Google’s targeted ad business. He said the following regarding the matter:

    We're clear our data can only be used for what a developer will use it for. We don't want anyone to make the rob-my-house app.
    Just last week, Nest announced the $555 million purchase of connected home monitoring camera maker, Dropcam, adding to Google’s quickly growing smart home portfolio.

    For those of you who didn’t know, Apple is also rolling out its own smart home platform with iOS 8’s HomeKit, though integration with third-party apps and hardware is in the very early stages of development.

    We’ll have to wait and see what comes of the whole ordeal.

    Source: Nest (blog), Wall Street Journal

    Twitter: @AkshayMasand
    2014-06-25 06:59 AM