Google announced the acquisition of Nest Labs, the makers of good looking home automation products, for $3.2 billion. Nest was founded by former iPod and iPhone creator Tony Fadell who started the company to build a better thermostat for his new house after realising that the available ones were all archaic. Nest currently has only two products, the Nest Learning Thermostat and the Smoke + CO smoke detector which are sold through various channels in the US including Apple’s website and stores.
Google has tried to get into home automation on its own before. In 2011 the search giant tried to leverage the rapid growth of the Android smartphone OS to create [email protected], a system that would connect all manner of smart appliances to the internet and make them controllable through your Android smartphone. This was followed in 2012 by the poorly received Nexus Q, which was aimed at streaming your music collection from the cloud anywhere in your home.
In December last year a leaked screenshot of a new app from Google called EnergySense was leaked showing some similar functionality to what Nest’s Thermostat offers. While there hasn’t been any follow up news or leaks since then, it seems Google is finally ready to start making its first successful move towards becoming a recognised brand in home automation.
What Google acquires with Nest is not only an active install base of devices and users in the US, it also acquires a team who understands home centric industrial design. According to a blog post from Google “Nest will continue to operate under the leadership of Tony Fadell and with its own distinct brand identity.” similar to how Motorola has been run since it was acquired by Google.
Source: Google Blog