So Google just dropped $3.2 billion to acquire Nest, a maker of "smart" home thermostats and smoke alarms. Another ho-hum business acquisition? Far from it, writes Dan Hon at Wired. In fact, don't think of it as an acquisition, he suggests. Think "annexation." As in, an annexation of physical territory—our homes. Nest isn't some Internet company with a killer app. It makes tangible products that get installed in houses, monitor the behavior of occupants, and adjust themselves accordingly.
Which means that "despite Google and Nest’s statements that Nest would remain separate, Google essentially bought its way into your house—literally so if you’re a Nest user," writes Hon. Get used to it, as the Internet ventures more and more "into the real world." It might be time to start rethinking our attitude toward startups like Nest. They might win our loyalty, but that loyalty doesn't necessarily translate to a behemoth new owner. "There just has to be a viable alternative to building a long-lasting, scaled company other than being acquired by the likes of Google," writes Hon. "Otherwise it's starting to look like a monoculture out there." Click for his full column. (Read more Google stories.)