The behemoth that is Google, has announced it’s first acquisition for the year, it’s buying Nest, a smart thermostat maker set up by former Apple genius and iPod visionary, Tony Fadell, in a deal said to be worth $US3.2 billion/$AU3.5 billion.
This latest big-ticket buy continues a move by the California-based search giant into consumer electronics hardware, adding smartphone-synced thermostats to its Motorola Mobility smartphones, Nexus mobile devices, Chromecast, and the promised release of Google Glass some time this year.
Nest Labs makes internet connected smoke detectors and thermostats. The company set about reinventing simple, but essential household devices in 2011 with the launch of it’s Nest Learning Thermostat and follow up product, Protect, a smoke alarm controlled by mobile devices ::::
“They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now – thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe,” Google chief executive Larry Page said in a press release. “We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfil their dreams.”
The fast growing company is a well placed product for Google, household gadget integration just got a bunch closer for the internets number one search engine.
“Google has the business resources, global scale and platform reach to accelerate Nest growth across hardware, software and services for the home globally,” Mr Fadell, Nest’s co-founder and chief executive, said. “And our company visions are well aligned – we both believe in letting technology do the hard work behind the scenes so people can get on with the things that matter in life.”
Mr Fadell is a former senior vice president of the Apple division behind iPods and iPhones, fellow co-founder Matt Rogers was a lead iPod software engineer working with Mr Fadell at Apple.
Nest’s vice president of technology, Yoky Matsuoka, was once head of innovations at Google.
Mr Fadell was inspired to create Nest when building an environmentally-friendly home in Northern California. He says he discovered that thermostat technology was stuck in a bygone era, and set about pulling together a team to bring the thermostat into the mobile internet age. The sleek, disc-shaped thermostat is controlled by turning an outer ring.
A black display screen showing the temperature turns blue to indicate cooling or red to show rooms are being heated. Machine learning built into thermostats lets them adapt to patterns in homes within a week of regular use. The more users adjust their Nest thermostats, the more precisely the devices learn preferred comfort levels in homes.
Sensors in the thermostat assess whether lights are on or if there is movement, determining when people are away and then shifting to energy-saving settings.
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