Posted in Menacing Monopoly, War on Privacy

Google gobbles up Dropcam through its new Nest subsidiary

The Monster of Mountain View has made another acquisition. Through its new Nest subsidiary, it has purchased startup home surveillance equipment maker Dropcam.

Dropcam, the popular home monitoring camera startup, will be acquired by Nest, maker of smart thermostats and smoke detectors. The deal is worth $555 million in cash.

Of course, Nest itself was just bought by Google four months ago for $3.2 billion. It is undertaking the acquisition itself, outside of Google. Dropcam will be folded into Nest’s brand, company culture and privacy policy, said Matt Rogers, Nest co-founder and VP of engineering, in an interview Friday.

“The teams are very well-aligned and we love the product,” Rogers said. “We both think about the entire user experience from the unboxing on. We both care deeply about helping people stay connected with their homes when they’re not there.”

Rogers said the deal was signed today and has yet to close. The Dropcam team plans to move from San Francisco to Nest’s offices in Palo Alto, Calif.

Dropcam has never disclosed sales, but it is routinely the top-selling security camera on Amazon, and it recently branched into selling in retail stores like Apple and Best Buy. The company’s newest camera sells for $199, and a version with lower resolution and less field of view sells for $149.

Given that Google’s business model is based on the eradication of privacy and the establishment of universal surveillance, Dropcam is a perfect addition. Google already tracks its users’ whereabouts, activities, interests and likes; the acquisition of Dropcam could allow Google to peer into users’ homes. Of course, Nest claims its privacy policy is “separate” from Google’s, and pledges that won’t change. But that pledge is totally worthless, and we suspect, quite temporary.