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 Wall Street Journal reports that Google made the statement in support of its contention that it shouldn’t have to break out ad revenue from mobile devices.

Google argued that it doesn’t make sense to break out mobile revenue since the definition of mobile will “continue to evolve” as more “smart” devices roll out.

“Our expectation is that users will be using our services and viewing our ads on an increasingly wide diversity of devices in the future,” the company said in the filing.

While the statement is purely a defensive one – the company not wanting to share more data than it has to with competitors – the specific thermostat example seems unlikely to have been chosen completely randomly.

Google added the Nest smart thermostat to Google Play three months after purchasing the company. Nest remains on sale in Apple stores, both retail and online.

Nest was created by former Apple engineer Tony Fadell, the man dubbed ‘father of the iPod.’ Fadell sought to allay concerns about Google’s acquisition of the company soon after it was announced, promising that all data collected by Nest was used only to improve the product, and that any changes to that policy would be opt-in. Nothing was said about serving non-personalized ads, however.

Update: Google gave the following statement to Engadget

We are in contact with the SEC to clarify the language in this 2013 filing, which does not reflect Google’s product roadmap. Nest, which we acquired after this filing was made, does not have an ads-based model and has never had any such plans.”

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

  1. Si Jobling says:

    Whilst I expect advertising from the free services, paid products should be void of them, no matter what the cost.


  2. Nice… and now I just imagined that Google Car would have ads while you are in red light…


    • I just laughed at a few of the following scenario that ran through my head…

      “Dang! I have a headache and can’t sleep tonight! I guess I’ll run to the 24 hour gas station to pick up some Tylenol.”

      *gets in car and begins to drive*

      ~ Google Recommendation: O’Leary’s Irish Pub ~

      “Well… I guess I can stop in for a few drinks.”

      *3 hours later… Gets in car and stops very quickly at first red light.*

      ~ Google Recommendation: Allstate Insurance: Increase Your Coverage ~

      *Ignores ad… And ignores next red light and get’s in a minor fender bender*

      ~ Google Recommendation: Saul Goodman: DUI Lawyer – “Better Call Saul!” ~


  3. What a beautiful future!


  4. Where is that toadstool Snowden when you need him? I bought 3 Nest thermostats before Google bought Nest and like them. I would not have bought them if I thought Google was going to aggregate everything it could about me and send me ads for male organ enhancers. I hate these trolling class action lawsuits but I will gladly join one enjoining Google from doing this to the Nests bought before Google dat its elephantine torso on this company.

    I despise Google. They are right up there with Comcast as one of the worse corporate miscreants in the universe.


  5. Oh no. Ads popping up could confuse the users… I was an early adopter and the Nest’s simplicity is why I’ve recommended it for two older persons and installed it at my work. This device has a premium price tag, I sure hope older devices are grandfathered from these ads.


  6. Robert Nixon says:

    Google sometimes makes me just dread the future.


  7. No so far from Minority report isn’t it?


  8. It’s always interesting to hear Google defenders ads being tolerable with free services. I wonder how they feel about ads on paid devices.

    Google has made a fortune serving ads – that’s what they do. Essentially, if they own, license or otherwise have access to a ‘thing’, they will slap an ad on it at the first opportunity. Since this is their business, I don’t really blame them and we should all expect this. Still, glad I didn’t buy a Nest.


  9. Hell no! If that happens, I’ll officially boycott Google. No way in hell do I want to see adds on hardware that I’ve paid for,


    • herb02135go says:

      You’ve got adds (sic) on your tv, right? Did you pay for that?

      And you’ve got ads on cable tv. You’re paying for that, right? In fact, you’re probably used to it.

      Fact is, you will put up with ads. But it sounds so Eastwood-esque to spout off on this forum.


  10. I did not pay a premium for a high-end thermostat only to have it turn into more ad revenue for Google. If they do this I may decide to remove the device from my home.


  11. Appalling. However, I think the Nest has gotten a lot more kudos than it actually deserves, simply because: “… former Apple engineer.”

    It’s a much nicer looking thermostat than any that have gone before, but it’s not essentially that different. Thermostats have been “learning” in the same way since the late 80’s. It has a cool round screen, and an app. Other than that, its the same as anyone else’s.

    They don’t even own the circle idea, as most thermostats were circular in the 60’s & 70’s. There is nothing to stop someone making an exact knock-off of a Nest thermostat and legally selling it on the open market tomorrow. It contains no new tech, nothing patentable, etc.


    • My thermostat at home doesn’t have the ability to know if I’m at home or not… I’d want to be sure that there’s nothing patentable in the design before I went spouting it off over the rumor forums, but maybe you know. Anyway, I was going to get a Nest pre-Google, but now I’m waiting for a copycat.


  12. glowingblues says:

    If ads are going to be served on the Nest, then the Nest better be free from the Google Play Store.


  13. As soon as I see an AD on my NEST, i am ripping that thing out, and destroying it with a hammer… or a bullet.


  14. Fixed.

    “Nest, which we acquired after this filing was made, does not have an ads-based model and has never had any such plans (until today).”


  15. Bob Trikakis says:

    Anyone want to good deal on a NEST? Google just ruined a great device. Freaking ads on a NEST. Google is destroy our mobile world one ad at a time. All new low for corporate America.