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INTERNET of STUFF: Google to replace old Dropcams for $0.00

Good news: free upgrade! Odd news: reason for upgrade is back-end upgrade

Dropcam, the home video camera company acquired by Google's Internet of Things limb Nest, is giving away new cameras to owners of its old cameras.

Dropcam's eponymous products are WiFi-connected cameras that make it easy to log on and peer at whatever it is they see over a video stream. The idea is that you'll buy a Dropcam and use it as a baby monitor, security device or to see how much of the garden your new puppy has dug up today.

Google acquired Dropcam last year, after Nest wrote a cheque for US$555m. At the time of the acquisition, it was felt that adding eyes to Nest's sensors was a handy thing for Google as it seeks to observe, record and analyse even more of our lives.

Dropcam willed itself into existence in 2009 and its first cameras appeared in early 2010. By later the same year, the Echo model also debuted.

Both of those models, the company says, no longer provide “an experience that meets our standards” because the company is “always trying to improve Dropcam and the software behind it.” So it's killing them on April 15th.

The old cameras, it appears, don't talk to the new back end. Rather than making old cams redundant trash, the company is swapping them for new ones. The notice to customers says they need only complete a form to be sent replacements.

Few vendors would be as generous in this situation, but perhaps Dropcam/Nest/Google thinks it needs to keep every customer aboard as it plots a combined IoT assault. After all, when the user is the product, it's best to have the user on the latest version. ®

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