Better tech worth the price of privacy

SallyYoo2_19 Colby Patterson
Sally Yoo

Sally Yoo

Recently Google has acquired Nest Labs, who produce thermostats and smoke detectors. However, these products have new technology in them that would allow Google to learn about consumers’ everyday activity with their household appliances. This $3.2 billion deal went through on Feb. 7 and was the second largest deal Google has ever made. Forbes has made the claim that “Google can leverage Nest’s technical prowess and manpower to develop the next generation of Internet-enabled home gadgets and speed up the development process.” This would be a giant leap not only for Google but also for hundreds of other companies. The Washington Post also has hope in Google’s endeavor, stating, “Google’s founders have had a good eye for imagining what technologies will be significant in the near future.” This investment certainly bodes well for Google.

I have heard many concerns about user privacy and the potential for Google, as a corporation, to take advantage of this information. However, this idea is ultimately ridiculous. It would not be beneficial for Google to abuse user habits as it would impact their company negatively, starting with a decrease in customers followed by a decrease in monetary value. Google could not survive without the trust of customers and other companies with whom they collaborate. Though Google would gain access to information that may feel like an infringement on privacy, it seems to me this infringement would be beneficial to all parties involved. If a child allows their mother or father to make decisions for them, is that child at a disadvantage? No. The parent is educated, and the child is not. The parent has experience which the child does not. Similarly, Google having more information puts it at a better position to help make suggestions for the average consumer and quickly advance the production of new technologies.

The Red Herring, a business technology company, points out Google is not only acquiring the potential for new home-gadgets but also giving Tony Fadell, founder and CEO of Nest, “entrance into your home and data.” Fadell’s influence will be priceless for Google. Not only is he a brilliant entrepreneur, but he also flourishes as the CEO of Nest Labs. The data Google will receive will provide insight not only for new products, but also for successful advertising campaigns. There is no way to deny Google will have more access to your devices, but similar to their previous deal with Motorola, the benefits will likely far outweigh the costs. Ultimately, the small infringement on privacy is far less likely to cause harm then it is to help by further advancing technology.