The word is out that Google expects our home appliances to start talking to one another in a few years via computer network, and frankly, I am worried.
The company this week announced it had bought Nest Labs, which makes smoke detectors and thermostats, but Google has plans for so much more, according to an Associated Press story.
“Nest Labs quickly won over gadget lovers with its 2011 release of an Internet-connected thermostat that learns to cool and heat homes to suit the needs of the inhabitants,” the AP wrote. Late last year, the company followed up with a smoke and carbon-monoxide detector equipped with voice technology and the ability to communicate with the company’s thermostat.”
Help me get this straight: We now have smoke detectors that can talk to thermostats. Perhaps, when they smell smoke, the smoke detectors say to the thermostats: “Quick — turn off the furnace. The house is on fire.”
At the same time, the toaster may say to the refrigerator: “Quick — hand me a couple of slices of bread. Let’s not waste any of this heat. And, by the way, leave your door open, because it’s getting a little too hot in here.”
The thermostat would say to the telephone: “Hurry, call 911.”
The thermostat then would tell the dishwasher to start up and open its door, to get a little water spraying around.
The fans in the bathrooms would hear from the thermostat, too, and they would turn on to get rid of as much smoke as they could.
The computer would be told to e-mail a Google map to the fire department, giving directions to the house. And so on.
Meanwhile, the homeowner would hear all the commotion and would come in through the open sliding door from the patio, where he had been barbecuing hamburgers that got a little smoky.
“What in the heck’s going on?” he would ask, just before being hit with a spray of water from a firefighter’s hose.
The joys of computerization are about to hit home.