Nest has completed its assimilation of Dropcam.
The company most-known for its smart thermostat announced today that it has made an Internet-connected home camera dubbed, fittingly enough, Nest Cam. It’s basically the Dropcam Pro with a few updates and a slightly different name.
Nest Cam doesn’t come as a surprise. Google acquired Dropcam shortly after it acquired Nest, and earlier this year, Dropcam users were required to abandon the old subscription service and create accounts with their camera’s new king.
But don’t mistake inevitable change for welcome progress. Dropcam merging with Nest — and both companies existing solely because Google knows it can’t yet release home cameras with its own branding — is still a little unnerving.
As I explained back when reports about Google acquiring Dropcam surfaced:
I shouldn’t have to explain why budding interest in security cameras from a company whose entire business model revolves around the systematic degradation of individual privacy is a bad thing, but I’ll give it a shot anyway. Google’s future depends on new and exciting ways to get advertisements in front of consumers. Serving those advertisements requires the collection of increasing amounts of information, which creates a never-ending cycle of data vacuuming.
It’s bad enough that this company is entrusted with the world’s largest mobile software platform, the premier search engine, and services on which many consumers rely, such as Gmail and Google Maps. Now it’s offering thermostats and might be getting into the home security business — in addition to creating self-driving cars and technologies that consumers will have tattooed on their arms or sitting in their stomachs. ‘Panopticon’ doesn’t even come close to describing it.
Since then, Dropcam users have been asked to use Nest’s services, and Dropcam itself has now been transmogrified into the Nest Cam. Oh, and Nest’s terms of service have been updated to allow “limited” information sharing with Google.
It’s a smart play on Google’s part. Acquire a few decent startups, use their brands to avoid making consumers uneasy about allowing Google products into their homes, then combine them before ultimately folding it into Google when people have grown used to having these devices watch their every waking move.
Here’s to playing the long game, Google! No, wait, sorry, Nest.