Google Is Definitely Up To Something In The Home

Published: Wed, 25 Mar 2015

OK, so this isn't exactly breaking news given Google's breathtaking $3.2B acquisition of Nest, and their more recent $555M purchase of Dropcam. But many have since speculated on what kind of grand vision could justify such lofty price tags. A recent patent filing may shed some light on Google's intentions.

As orginally reported by Jordan Novet at VentureBeat, the patent covers inventions for various new smart devices such as doorknobs, doorbells and smart switches. This suggests that Google is looking to expand their device portfolio within the smarthome, and possibly with internally designed products. Although, as Jordan points out, this may not jive with earlier speculation that Nest will partner with ADT, which would involve linking Nest's thermostat with ADT's existing home security gear.

Michael Wolf at Forbes brings us another perspective. Michael posits that many of these devices are merely a means to an end - a much grander vision that encompasses the "conscious" home, where information from a multitude of sensors is assimilated to anticipate a user's every want and need. Everything from tracking your movement throughout your home to monitor your health and comfort, to localized robots constantly at your beck and call. Sounds like a stretch? Well, nobody ever accused Google of not dreaming big.

Google is clearly defining one end of the smarthome spectrum - a holistic approach that leverags Artificial Intelligence to transform the home. A lofty vision that, for the foreseeable future, will likely be confined to more sophisticated or affluent customers. Korner sits at the opposite end of the spectrum - a startup with a focus on a very specific problem, offering a simple and inexpensive solution that anyone can use and everyone can afford. Korner believes that to enable the broadest possible adoption of the smarthome, consumers need to start with a simple and inexpensive product, that addresses a real and pressing need. Then, with an expandable platform, users can start considering more novel features incrementally, if and when it suits their needs and their budget, allowing the customer to decide how the smarthome future will evolve.

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