10 Updates

Google Eyes Dropcam, Company That Thinks Monetizing User Data is "Tricking the User"

May 27 2014, 6:15pm CDT | by

If Google is really going to buy Dropcam, the video camera startup might have to readjust some of its company values. The Information reported Tuesday that Google is considering buying Dropcam ,...

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8 weeks ago

Google Eyes Dropcam, Company That Thinks Monetizing User Data is "Tricking the User"

May 27 2014, 6:15pm CDT | by

If Google is really going to buy Dropcam, the video camera startup might have to readjust some of its company values.

The Information reported Tuesday that Google is considering buying Dropcam , which makes $150 cameras that stream video to a computer or phone.

But there might be one ideological hurdle: Dropcam co-founder and CEO Greg Duffy doesn’t believe in Google’s main business model of offering free services in order to gather and monetize user data.

“I think if your business model is not straightforward, it veers into potentially being unethical, if you look at things that are quote-unquote ‘free,’” he told Xconomy a year ago . “None of the people who work here want to work on something that works like that.”

Dropcam employees view using user data to make revenue as “tricking the user,” Duffy said.

Google is making serious moves into hardware after acquiring smart-thermostat darling Nest in January. But while it’s branching out, its core business is still advertising — and new smart-home devices are not immune. In a letter to the SEC last year , Google said that “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.”

Nest CEO Tony Fadell quickly clarified that ads are not planned for Nest devices, which include a thermostat and a carbon monoxide-smoke detector that was recalled last week.

“Nest is being run independently from the rest of Google, with a separate management team, brand and culture,” he said last week in an emailed statement to Re/code . “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.”

Nest may be against ads, but it’s making a quiet side business of managing users’ energy consumption on behalf of energy companies. He told Forbes in December that the business will help fatten his margins.

But Duffy said he’s proud that selling hardware for a profit means the company has no incentive to try to monetize user data.

“People are attracted to this idea of making a product and selling it to people for a profit,” he told Xconomy . “More and more, people are starting to think that other types of business models are bullshit.”

While the idea of a video camera recording you and your family’s every move make may seem creepy, Duffy says Dropcam’s business model ensures they won’t want to capitalize on the data they record.

Facebook is also cataloguing your life, but you don’t pay them to do that, so their incentives are quite different,” Duffy said . “They want to use your data to sell things.”

That’s somewhat comforting. But companies are always evolving — and just because it’s not immediately clear how to monetize home surveillance data doesn’t mean it won’t be done eventually.

Business models aside, Dropcam also has a strong company culture — one that doesn’t quite align with Google’s. Duffy, who flies helicopters, takes new hires out on a ride, and as of last year, has never had an employee quit. Part of that culture, detailed in a long interview at Xconomy, might run up against some of Google’s most lauded perks: free meals (and the long hours that come with them).

Dropcam pays for breakfast and lunch, and adding dinner “would cost us nothing” and keep people working more hours, Duffy said. But instead, employees are booted out the door at 6 p.m. so they can enjoy some sunshine and a dinner with family. It keeps employees happier and more productive instead of burning them out. And, most importantly, it’s not “tricking” anyone.

“When you have a person who can work anywhere they want to, and you say, ‘We bring in breakfast, lunch, and dinner,’ you are really trying to trick them,” he said. “You are trying to get them to work until 10 p.m. or midnight every night.”/>/>

A Google spokesman said the company does not comment on rumors or speculation. Dropcam did not respond to a request for comment. The Information’s report did not have details on the status of talks between the two companies.

 
Update
10

6 weeks ago

RM47mil KWSG contributions still unclaimed

Jun 9 2014 7:54am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR: About RM47 million of contributions in the Teachers Provident Fund (KWSG) still remain unclaimed, the Dewan Rakyat was told today ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
9

6 weeks ago

Gold shop lost almost RM1mil

Jun 9 2014 3:50am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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KANGAR: A gold shop owner lost almost RM1 million after after the safe on in his shop was broken into by robber ...
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Update
8

6 weeks ago

Motion to debate MAS losses in Dewan Rakyat rejected

Jun 9 2014 3:39am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR: AN emergency motion to debate the losses incurred by Malaysia Airlines last year, amounting to RM1.2 billion was rejected by the Dewan Rakyat today. ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
7

6 weeks ago

MH370 Tragedy: Hisham: RM27.6 mil spent on 1st phase of SAR

Jun 9 2014 2:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia spent some RM27.6 million in its first phase of the search operations for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister, Datuk Seri ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
6

6 weeks ago

9.1m litres of diesel seized in a month

Jun 8 2014 1:11am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

INDIA-CHINA-DIPLOMACY-TRADE
PUTRAJAYA: The Domestic Trade, Cooperatives, and Consumerism ministry has seized some 9.1 million litres of diesel and property worth RM58 million since mounting ‘Operasi Diesel Selatan’ in the southern states last mo ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
5

6 weeks ago

Girl, 9, awarded RM2.78m compensation for medical negligence

Jun 6 2014 4:56am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR: A nine-year-old girl who suffered brain damage during her birth at a government hospital was awarded over RM2.78 million in ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
4

6 weeks ago

Malaysia's total trade in April up 12pc

Jun 5 2014 11:52pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's total trade in April 2014 rose by 12 per cent from a year ago to RM123.86 billion due to growing trading activities, International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk S ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
3

7 weeks ago

Works Ministry to spend RM20m for upgrading works at 50 accident black spots

Jun 4 2014 11:35pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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JOHOR BARU: The Works Ministry will implement upgrading works at 50 accident prone locations in the country that have been identified this year involving an allocation of RM20 millio ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
2

7 weeks ago

Najib launches loan scheme for Ramadan traders

Jun 4 2014 10:24pm CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

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PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today launches RM45 million Ramadan Bazaar Scheme ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 
Update
1

7 weeks ago

Residents bring up objection against Kidex to Suhakam

Jun 4 2014 4:49am CDT | Source: Business Times Malaysia

PETALING JAYA: A group of 20 Petaling Jaya residents held a meeting with the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) over their objection against the proposed RM2.2 billion Kinrara Damansara Skyway (Kidex) today ...
Source: Business Times Malaysia   Full article at: Business Times Malaysia
 

 

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