What would you *like* to see happen with Nest?
Google's purchase of Nest has apparently caused the whole internet to descend into a full-blown ragefest. According to Nilay's reporting, people are even taking to Twitter to construct theories about how Google will force Nest users to broadcast their thermostat settings on Google+, or whisper ads through their smoke detector, or screw up Nest in some other way.
But these are the worst case scenarios. What about the best case scenario? Surely it's at least possible to imagine a future in Google's acquisition of Nest ends up making both companies better? Hence my question: what do you want Google to do with Nest?
Here are some of my hopes for what Google will do with Nest. Some of these proposals will be controversial; others less so. I've tried to sort them roughly in order of least-controversial to most:
1. Use open standards and protocols: I think most people realise that this acquisition isn't just about Google buying a thermostat and a smoke detector; this is the beginning of Google's big push for home automation. As this strategy unfolds, I hope that Google uses open standards that will allow other companies to build devices that can also interact with Google's overall home automation system. In other words, I hope that Google treats Nest more like a Nexus (ie. Google's own entrant in an ecosystem that other companies can also enter) than an iPhone.
2. Expand to overseas markets: I expect that this will be one of Google's first priorities. Tony Fadell specifically said in his Gigaom interview that at this one of the main reasons they decided to sell the company to Google. Of course, Google itself is notoriously not very good at offering its full set of services outside the US, but since the Nest doesn't involve any media rights issues, it will be easier.
3. Improve the Nest app for Android: This is a minor point, but what the hell. Right now the Nest app still kinda looks like an iOS port, and doesn't have a great tablet layout. This will become more of a problem as Nest adds more products and evolves into a broader system of home automation, but Google has talented Android designers who can fix this. (Google could make even make the guys from Timely work on this!)
4. New devices: This would have happened anyway: I'm sure that Nest already had a bunch of new devices in its product pipeline that Google was excited about when they bought the company. There are so many bad home appliances that could benefit from the application of networking protocols and good design - not the lame "let's put an Android tablet on this stove" approach that we've seen at CES, but the Nest approach of making devices simpler and less annoying. Hopefully Google can use its resources make these products happen faster. I want my Nest coffee machine.
5. Integration with Google voice control: Google has some of the best voice recognition technology in the world, and this is a clear example of an area where Google's expertise can really improve Nest's existing products. "Okay Nest, turn up the heat 3 degrees". "Okay Nest, dim the lights in the living room." "Okay Nest, play some Rolling Stones." Some people will be freaked out by this, for the same reason that Microsoft's always-on Kinect microphone scares people. However, I think most people would be okay with it if could be demonstrated that, like the Moto X, it only starts recording your voice once it picks up the relevant hotword.
6. Google account integration: Again, this is will freak people out. But I don't see why I should have two separate accounts for Google and Nest; I want to be able to manage my home system from within my Google account. However, this doesn't mean that Google will integrate Nest with Google+ specifically. As I've argued before, Google uses Google+ as its default solution for any services that involve people connecting with other people. Since home automation is about people connecting with things, I don't think Google+ is applicable here.
7. Using data from Google to improve Nest: Possibly the most controversial of all. If you use services like Google Now, then Google already knows about you, and it could use that information make Nest better. For example, Marco Arment writes on hits blog that "Nest could automatically turn your heat on so it reaches the ideal temperature at exactly the time you’re most likely to arrive home based on your location, travel speed, the route you usually take, and current traffic conditions." He intends for this to sound scary and Orwellian, but I think it sounds pretty great! I hope that Google does indeed move in this direction (while also providing an opt-out for people who are more privacy-conscious/paranoid, the same way it does with Google Now).