Google launched its first Wi-Fi router, the OnHub, this week to much fanfare from the technology media and main street newspapers. The press touted the device as “saving Wi-Fi” and was praised for its “clever design.”
Similar to Google’s Android phones, the device is a reference specification and while the initial version is manufactured by China’s TP-Link an ASUS manufactured model will hit the shelves later this year.
But does the world need another $200 home router? Why would Google bother?
The answer is that Google is strategically embedding itself deeper into the home and your personal life.
During the second quarter of 2015, Google sold $16.023 billion worth of advertising. Advertising is their bread and butter, and key to selling those ads is continually invading your privacy.
Knowing if users are pregnant, looking to date (with or without their partner’s permission), wanting to lose weight or booking a trip is becoming vital to Google’s ability to sell advertising and keep Wall Street happy.
To help collect this valuable data, Google has launched a string of hardware devices that are priced cheaply yet harvest the information of their users into Google’s massive database.
The Pixel Chromebook, Chromecast, Nexus phone, Next thermostat, and now Wi-Fi routers make up the vanguard of Google’s unrelenting assault on your privacy.
While most analysts cast an eye toward Google’s ambitions in the home automation market, where they aim to control things like their Next thermostat and your TV set, the real goal is an all-out backdoor attack on your privacy.
In short, Google wants to know everything about you.
The OnHub has the potential to elevate this data collection dragnet to a whole new level. The cute looking device sits in your living room and listens for commands like “turn on the bedroom lights” and “lock the front door.”
Imagine the data Google can compile while listening to you, watching your web browsing and knowing what temperature your house is.
While Google claims a plethora of benefits to the user, such as optimized network performance for streaming video, there is little it can provide to customers that isn’t already available in similarly priced routers.
The real goal is to weave itself ever deeper into the fabric of the internet in order to collect every last bit of data on its users and, in turn, sell that data to advertisers.