January 14, 2014
Yesterday Google purchased Nest Labs, makers of the 'Nest Learning Thermostat' and 'Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm,' for $3.2 billion. It's a large figure and one that certainly signals an aggressive move by Google to enter the home automation marketplace.
Not only does this give Google control of the biggest name in the connected home market, but it also puts the company front and center in the area of energy management. Utility companies are signing contracts with Nest customers in exchange for enrolling in energy demand-response programs. The idea is that Nest and the utility communicate and avoid excess use during peak times, saving both the consumer and the utility money.
It's obvious why Google would want to add such products to its portfolio, but it has also been a great deal for Nest's management team. Back in November Tony Fadell, founder and chief executive, mentioned that the company had identified at least ten things that they could change in the home by designing new products in areas where innovation has been absent for years. There is no word, however, on the exact nature of these products, but smart lighting, appliances, and security are all reasonable bets.
Keep in mind that Google, and its vast resources, will only accelerate the process of getting more of these products developed and out to market. Maybe in a few years we'll all have our very own Rosie the Robot; I know I'm tired of doing the dishes.
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