At its I/O developer conference on Tuesday, Google showed a sneak preview of its Android@Home project, which will extend the Android platform into household objects. That means some day in the future, you could control home appliances—your dishwasher, the heating system, the lights in your house—using your Android device as a remote control.
“Think of your phone as the nucleus that this all started with,” said Google engineering director Joe Britt in an interview. “We’re opening the platform up to everyone to do whatever they can imagine.”
There’s something to be said for the ability to turn on your parked car’s air conditioning before you get to it. But, practically, what’s the point of having a dishwasher or washing machine that can be wirelessly controlled? Without place settings or clothes to clean, there’s nothing for the devices to do. And the technology doesn’t yet exist for such appliances to load themselves. For that, we’d need human-like robots.
There’s obviously more potential when it comes to heating, cooling, and lighting. But controlling the utilities in a house from somewhere else in the world has serious privacy and security implications. Implications that have not been addressed, will not be easy to address, and don’t actually even make sense for Google to address. If Google took privacy seriously and didn’t capture data for its own use, it wouldn’t be able to profit. It would be moving the goalposts forward technologically, but it wouldn’t be making money. Spying is Google’s business model. It underpins search and advertising (Search/Analytics/Adsense), Gmail, Chrome and Android, and pretty much every other product it offers.
Google’s practice of collecting data and never deleting it is becoming a bigger and bigger problem that governments are not addressing. There’s been some action taken in the European Union, but almost none in the United States, where Google is based. It’s time for that to change before Google becomes any more powerful than it already is.