Demo Day

Energy-Tech Startup Competition Won By Another Taxi App

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For most utility companies, the most “disruption” they ever deal with is when a power grid is overloaded by everyone’s air conditioners. But this week, major utilities and power companies met with members of the local tech community to try and figure out how to bring good ol’ Silicon Alley innovation to the New York utility Read More

Planet Google

Google Wants To Bring Ads To a Thermostat Near You

Get ready to start seeing personalized ads here! (Facebook)

Not so breaking news: Google is taking over everything.

A letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that was disclosed yesterday revealed that Google may begin advertising and serving content on devices such as car dashboards, thermostats, refrigerators and of course Google Glass, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Google reportedly made the statement, originally filed in December, to explain why they don’t disclose revenue generated from mobile devices, despite the fact that other media giants like Facebook and Twitter do. Their explanation is that the definition of mobile will “continue to evolve” with the introduction of more “smart” devices. Read More

Internet of Things

Older Tech Giants Have Arrived For The ‘Internet Of Things’ Arms Race

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When people hear “Internet of Things,” their first inclination is to think of Google-owned talking thermostats. But it’s the less-buzzworthy global communications titans like Intel and Cisco who have been building up their portfolio of Internet of Things companies over the past few years — and they’re only getting started.

Intel recently bought up Basis Systems, which makes health tracking bands, and Cisco’s portfolio includes companies that put sensors in home utility meters and bicycles. These are companies that made their multinational empires building satellites and wireless networks — and now they want to develop consumer products that put sensors in alarm clocks, hearing aids and thermostats. Read More

Internet of Things

Nest Halts Sale of ‘Smart’ Smoke Detectors After Finding They Might Not Detect Smoke

A cartoon rendering of the Nest Protect smoke alarm. (Facebook)

Nest, the Google-owned company that makes smart smoke alarms and thermostats, is disabling a feature on its Nest Protect smoke alarms after realizing it could be dangerous in the event of a fire. They’re also halting sales of all new smoke alarms until the problem is fixed.

In a recent blog post, Nest Labs CEO Tony Fadell explained that Nest Wave — a feature that allows Nest Protect smoke alarm users to turn off their alarms by waving their hand — could pose great dangers in the event of a real fire. What if a user unintentionally waved her hand in front of her Nest Protect smoke alarm, just moments before a fire started in her home? Read More

Linkages

Booting Up: Google Doodle Protests Russia’s Asinine Anti-Gay Laws

Boom. (Photo: Google)

Bitcoin’s value plummeted 20 percent last night after a major glitch hit trading exchange Mt. Gox. [CNBC]

Google laid the ultimate body slam against Russia’s anti-gay laws as it’s about to kickoff the Winter Olympics. The search giant changed its homepage into a colorful logo with a slam at the IOC for not addressing the problems. [Verge

The FTC approved Google’s $3.2 billion deal to buy fancy thermostat maker Nest. [Recode]

Here’s an honest version of how those Facebook “Look Back” videos should really look like. [BI]

After being snubbed by Spotify, Tesla inked a deal with Rdio to include the service in its vehicles. [GigaOM]

Acquisitions

Google To Acquire Nest Labs For $3.2 Billion

Nest cofounder Tony Fadell (Getty)

To cap off a day of tree-themed acquisitions, Google has announced it’s shelling out $3.2 billion in cash for Nest: a company that makes super smart thermostats and smoke alarms.

Nest, which launched in 2011, aims to “take the unloved products in your home and make simple, beautiful, thoughtful things,” according to the company’s website. For those of you that don’t speak startup, that basically means they replace your junky old impossible-to-use thermostat with one that has motion sensors and WiFi connectivity. Read More