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Nest's Tony Fadell: No Ads on Thermostats

Google's SEC statements where made before the Nest deal.


Nest will not run advertising on its thermostats, said CEO and founder Tony Fadell in a statement to Re/code on Wednesday.

Fadell and his team are having a rough day. The formal announcement of the recall of Nest Protect smoke detectors due to a potential flaw coincided with an SEC filing that implied Nest’s acquirer Google planned to slap ads on thermostats.

Nest had previously sought to separate its future plans from those of Google, saying it had no intention of sharing user data with the all-knowing Internet giant. But many watchers were skeptical, noting the potential hedges in statements like “at this point, there are no changes.” Also, companies change their plans all the time, and consumers often suffer the consequences.

So Fadell, who is speaking next week at our Code Conference, tried to clarify the matter. “Nest is being run independently from the rest of Google, with a separate management team, brand and culture,” he said in an emailed statement. “For example, Nest has a paid-for business model, while Google has generally had an ads-supported business model. We have nothing against ads — after all Nest does lots of advertising. We just don’t think ads are right for the Nest user experience.”

Google had earlier said that the filing published today was submitted prior to its acquisition of Nest. The specific wording said, “a few years from now, we and other companies could be serving ads and other content on refrigerators, car dashboards, thermostats, glasses, and watches, to name just a few possibilities.” This was in a section where Google was trying to justify why it doesn’t break out numbers for mobile advertising revenue from other advertising by saying that phones are just one of very many integrated platforms.

Google had earlier put out a statement saying something similar, though perhaps it means more coming directly from Fadell. “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.”

Correction: In an earlier version of this story, the first sentence dropped the word “not” due to an editing error.

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