Android in My Rice Cooker: Gateway to Future Cyber Home Invasion?

   Over the past few days, there were several interesting stories in the news that caught my eye. The first was at Bloomberg News on 8 January; it reported how Google’s Android operating system software is increasingly being embedded into everything from refrigerators to rice-cookers. According to the story, Android creates a nice, symbiotic relationship between Google and product manufacturers. The manufacturers get a free and easy-to-use OS that allows them to create Internet-connected products, while Google is in a position to “collect more data to build its lucrative search business and one-up software rivals Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Apple Inc.”

     Another goal of the manufacturers is to also create products that can “exchange information with less human intervention.” The Bloomberg story goes on to state that, “A television, for example, might show a pop-up message from a clothes dryer in the basement, indicating that the homeowner’s jeans are not yet dry. The user could press a button on the TV remote to automatically add 15 minutes to the dryer cycle. A connected rice cooker could determine what type of rice is being used and set cooking instructions accordingly.”

     Given that your rice cooker might also inform others what type of rice you’re cooking, like a competitor to the brand you’re using who might then try to convince you otherwise, consumers might view their relationships with their Android-enabled devices as parasitic in nature, but that is a discussion for another time. [read more..]