Google is predicting adverts displayed on your Nest smart thermostat, as well as across wearables like Glass and Android Wear, car dashboards, and more, as it tries to clue the government in on what will be the ad opportunities of tomorrow. The idea of the spread of marketing and similar promotional information across different wearable and smart home devices came as Google responded to an SEC concern about falling ad revenues as the traditional ways of displaying them become diversified.
The Securities and Exchange Commission had questioned Google on falling cost-per-click rates for its advertising services, particularly around the shift from desktop to mobile. It had also requested a breakdown by platform, something Google says not only isn't easy today, but is only going to get harder tomorrow.
For instance, Google suggests, "mobile" as a definition is growing to encompass more than just smartphones and tablets:
"In a short period of time, the meaning of "mobile" at Google has shifted dramatically to "handset" from "tablet + handset". We expect the definition of "mobile" to continue to evolve as more and more "smart" devices gain traction in the market. For example, 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" Google SEC filing
As a result, advertising is no longer being designed solely for one platform, but intended to be run across many. Google's "Enhanced Campaigns" are dynamically adjusted to suit different sizes and shapes of screen, the company points out, including those which don't currently serve ads.
That's unlikely to be welcome news for those with, for instance, Nest thermostats on their walls. Although this isn't necessarily sign of a roadmap for where Google-owned Nest will go, it will undoubtedly reignite concerns about what data Google is getting from the motion-tracking gadget.
In fact, Nest's own management has suggested that selling data - albeit filtered and to some extent anonymized - is likely to be a bigger source of income moving forward than selling thermostats themselves.
Update: Nest gave SlashGear the following statement:
"Nest is being run independently from the rest of Google, with a separate management team, brand and culture. 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."