Google's latest purchase, its largest ever in Europe, is an artificial intelligence firm called DeepMind Technologies Ltd. The purchase comes days after it spent $3.2 billion to buy Nest Labs Inc which makes smart thermostats and smoke alarms. Both these acquisitions fit wonderfully well in the search giant’s world. Simply put, if a Nest Thermostat knows that your house is too cold and needs to turn up the heat, its machine learnings could also trigger Gmail or a Google search page to be populated with ads for sweaters or thermals. But it won’t always be about ads. The consumer stands to benefit a lot from one company managing multiple facets of their lives. In the same scenario, when the house gets too cold, the Nest thermostat will increase the heating while the data from it will be used by DeepMind to switch on the coffee machine. Google has other such plans too, like driverless or smart cars. A car like that will know where you are and use this GPS data to change gears according to the topography. It could even alert you if another car is headed for your path, all using the data it has from multiple users connected to one Google service or the other.
But an ideal Google world could turn very dark if the company decides to use all this data to its advantage or, worse, someone else gets hold of this treasure trove. So it will be up to the users to take a call on how much of the data they want to entrust to Google. There are hundreds of Google services that are beneficial to connected people, but we cannot forget the fact that they are in the end running a business. Let’s just presume Google’s “don’t do evil” motto will keep reminding it of its fiduciary duties.