Observations from Google I/O 2014: The Sundar Pichai Show

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There is both a lot happening at this year’s Google I/O and very little, depending where you look.  Obviously, if you are a developer who builds Android and even web apps, you are a kid in a candy store. If you are looking for new hardware, there isn’t much that wasn’t out there already.  Neither Google co-founder took the stage this year after successive years where Sergey Brin led the introduction of Google Glass (which is all but absent this year) and Larry Page led an epic Q&A last year.

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Future Nest products may not need new hardware, could be just apps, says Fadell

If you love the idea of smart home technology like Nest, but are concerned about the cost of replacing half the appliances and devices in your home, Nest CEO Tony Fadell has some good news. Speaking at the Re/Code conference, he said that while “you need new hardware to allow things to flourish,” there are many things that could be done with software alone.

 Just like your smartphone has many many apps on it, we think there [could be] many apps in your home but you don’t necessarily need new hardware …

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Google tells the SEC it could soon be serving ads on thermostats and other devices (Update: Google says no ad-based Nest)

 

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Those who expressed concern about Google’s acquisition of Nest may have have been right: the company has told the Securities and Exchange Commission that it may choose to serve ads on “refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities.”

The WSJ reports that Google made the statement in support of its contention that it shouldn’t have to break out ad revenue from mobile devices …  Read more

Nest team to become Google’s new money-no-object hardware designers

Google CEO Larry Page (centre) with Nest co-founders Matt Rogers amd Tony Fadell (photo: technologyreview.com)

Google CEO Larry Page (centre) with Nest co-founders Matt Rogers amd Tony Fadell (photo: technologyreview.com)

Tony Fadell and the rest of the Nest team will become Google’s “core hardware group,” working on a variety of hardware projects and given access to “as many resources as it needs,” according to an unnamed source cited by TechCrunch.

The new division will still work on hardware devices, but not necessarily thermostats or smoke detectors. In fact, Google would like Fadell to work on gadgets that make more sense for the company. Will it be a phone or a tablet? It’s unclear for now [...]

When it comes to budget, Google is willing to let the Nest team use as many resources as it needs. In other words, the company is getting serious about consumer hardware, and Motorola was just a false start …  Read more

Any data gathered by Google-owned Nest devices will be “transparent and opt-in,” says Tony Fadell

Photo: websummit.net

Photo: websummit.net

Nest CEO Tony Fadell has responded to data privacy concerns expressed after the company was acquired by Google, stating that there have not yet been any changes to the data collected by the smart thermostat and smoke detector, and that any future changes would be both transparent and opt-in.

At this point, there are no changes. The data that we collect is all about our products and improving them.

If there were ever any changes whatsoever, we would be sure to be transparent about it, number one, and number two for you to opt-in to it …  Read more

Court docs reveal email exchange between Eric Schmidt and Steve Jobs over poaching employees

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Earlier this month, a U.S. District Judge in California ordered Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, Apple CEO Tim Cook, and others to give depositions in an ongoing private lawsuit. Employees brought on the private lawsuit alleging  “no-poach” agreements the companies entered would drive down wages. Today, new details have emerged after a request to keep court documents secrets was denied by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh.

While emails exchanged between Steve Jobs and former Palm CEO Ed Colligan have been the focus on the documents, The Verge also pointed us to emails exchange between Jobs and Google execs. Below we have an email form Jobs to Schmidt asking to put a stop to Google recruiting employees from its iPod team, as well as one where Schmidt discussed not wanting to create a paper trail: Read more