AAPL Stock: 117.81 ( -0.22 )

Printed from

Google's Nest to acquire Dropcam in $555M all-cash deal

updated 12:01 am EDT, Sat June 21, 2014

Nest co-founder says it is about products 'that keep us connected to our homes'

Nest, now owned by Google, has revealed that it is buying Dropcam, a smart home-monitoring camera. The deal for the company cost Nest $555 million in cash, and will see the Dropcam team moving to Nest's Palo Alto headquarters. Despite the fact that it is now owned by Google, Nest co-founder Matt Rogers says that the team behind Dropcam will be "indoctrinated" to Nest privacy policies, which -- currently -- are far more strict than those of Google. Critics, however, are skeptical.

As with the subtle silence from Nest co-founder (and former Apple executive) Tony Fadell on the future of the Nest following some backtracking on privacy concerns, opponents of the Dropcam deal point to the fact that Google has been rumored to be planning a push into home surveillance products -- exactly the sort of area the Dropcam camera has found an audience with. Rogers moved to pre-empt skeptics, saying in a post on the official Nest blog that "Once the deal closes, we'll incorporate Dropcam into how we do business at Nest. That includes how we handle everything from customer support to customer privacy."

"Like Nest customer data, Dropcam will come under Nest's privacy policy, which explains that data won't be shared with anyone (including Google) without a customer's permission," he continued. "Nest has a paid-for business model, and ads are not part of our strategy. In acquiring Dropcam, we'll apply that same policy to Dropcam too."

Numerous customers said publicly that they removed, returned or bought competing smart thermostat products after Google acquired Nest, and later advised the Federal Trade Commission that it would seek to redefine "mobile advertising" to include numerous smart devices in the home -- specifically including "thermostats" as an example. Polls have indicated that the public are uncomfortable with the idea of Google (or other companies) gathering home-centric data about them.

Google and Nest have both since strongly denied that ads would begin appearing on products like the Nest Thermostat, but have been notably mum on clarifying that no collection of data from the thermostat or other Nest products would be gathered for reasons beyond quality control. Rogers wrote that existing Dropcam customers will still be able to access their accounts, and Dropcam products will continue to be available in stores for the time being. The wording suggests that at some point users may be forcibly switched over to Nest services, which like the company are owned by Google.

Dropcam has become a popular option for home-monitoring cameras and software that let owners check in or be alerted to changes within the home through smartphone apps and other notifications. Video feeds from the home are hosted on cloud servers for the owners to securely check from any Internet-connected device.

Somewhat ironically, the Dropcam purchase will reunite two former Apple employees under the Google banner. Andy Hodge, who was a lead engineer at Apple, worked on Apple's iPod product line under Fadell. Rogers spoke about how Nest viewed the Dropcam team as compatible with Nest's vision, saying the teams were "very well-aligned and we love the product ... we both think about the entire user experience from the unboxing on. We both care deeply about helping people stay connected with their homes when they're not there."

by MacNN Staff



  1. ElectroTech

    Junior Member

    Joined: 11-26-08

    And I was just looking into getting a couple of Dropcam units but now, there is no way I will ever buy them. No snooping in my home Google!

  1. coffeetime

    Senior User

    Joined: 11-15-06

    This is probably nothing. Wait until all flat screen TV equipped with webcam on every model in 10 years from now, that's what I call the real Big Brother.

  1. Waragainstsleep

    Addicted to MacNN

    Joined: 03-20-04

    Wonder how happy the Android fanboys will be when their phones start pinging up messages like "You seem to be going to the bathroom frequently. Would you like to order some extra TP or book a colonoscopy?"

  1. Alann

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 11-27-10

    So cool. Can't wait until GoogleWorld can monitor our needs, our wants, our health, our bodily functions, drive us to work, clean our houses, deliver groceries, medicine as needed, regulate our home temperature, screen our callers, find us mates, tell us when we can procreate, entertain us, teach us, remind us and most of all, debit our GoogleCards.

  1. Jubeikiwagami

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 12-27-11

    The last thing I would want monitoring my home and life is Google. Even if it's free you would have to be a completely clueless mor-on to allow Google in your life.

  1. Makosuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-06-01

    "... Dropcam will come under Nest's privacy policy, which explains that data won't be shared with anyone (including Google) without a customer's permission..."

    How pleasantly noncommittal. Although some Google services are quite happy scraping any and all data they can without the user's permission (up to and including using technical trickery to bypass user privacy settings, as with the Safari block), *most* services, Google's included, don't share the customer's data without their permission.

    You know, when you sign up for Gmail and click that box that says its okay for them to collect whatever data they want about you and do more or less whatever they want with it. Or when you click "I accept" at the bottom of a software license agreement that basically signs your life away. Or the 2400-word privacy policy that you implicitly agree to simply by doing a Google search. (My favorite bit of that last one: "We will share personal information with companies, organizations or individuals outside of Google when we have your consent to do so. We require opt-in consent for the sharing of any sensitive personal information." -- so if it's not "sensitive" personal information, they're fine with opt-out consent to share your information with anyone and everyone.)

    If you're paranoid or really work at it, sure, you can opt-out of most information sharing. Probably. But "without your permission" is functionally meaningless in the era of 30-page legalese contracts that you have but to click "Accept" for, and can't use the product you just bought unless you do. Or, alternately, you've opted in unless you log into your Google Account and find the "don't share photos of my house with partners" checkbox, and un-check it--providing you even know such a box exists.

  1. slboett

    Grizzled Veteran

    Joined: 05-13-99

    Keep it. At least thieves breaking into my front door only steal what they can see - GOOGLE will not only steal my privacy, but everything else digital too. NO thanks. I'll take my chances with a 9MM and a dog.

Login Here

Not a member of the MacNN forums? Register now for free.


Network Headlines

Follow us on Facebook


Most Popular


Recent Reviews

Ultimate Ears Megaboom Bluetooth Speaker

Ultimate Ears (now owned by Logitech) has found great success in the marketplace with its "Boom" series of Bluetooth speakers, a mod ...

Kinivo URBN Premium Bluetooth Headphones

We love music, and we're willing to bet that you do, too. If you're like us, you probably spend a good portion of your time wearing ...

Jamstik+ MIDI Controller

For a long time the MIDI world has been dominated by keyboard-inspired controllers. Times are changing however, and we are slowly star ...


Most Commented