This is big.
Google has acquired Nest Labs, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based maker of smart thermometers and smoke detectors for a cool $3.2 billion in cash, reports Chris Preimesberger over at eWEEK. “Google took another big step Jan. 13 in its quest to become a major player in the connected-home Internet of Things market,” he wrote. Agreed.
Launched in October 2011, the Nest thermostat made a big splash thanks to its impeccable design, intuitive energy management capabilities and iPod-like simplicity. The latter’s no accident. Nest Labs was founded by Tony Fadell former head of Apple’s iPod division.
The company followed up last year with Nest Protect, a smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector that links with the company’s smart thermostat and can pull off a neat trick; when it detects carbon monoxide, it shuts down a home’s gas furnace, a source of the deadly gas.
Nest also brought the concept of the smart home one step closer to the masses. No wonder Google’s interested. Over at Forbes, NextMarket Insights founder and chief analyst Michael Wolf wrote:
So why is Google making this move now? In short, I think Google wants to be your ‘home OS’.
What do I mean by that? Basically, Google wants to essentially own the user interface, the data and the services that help you run your home.
In a blog post regarding the sale, Fadell said, “Google will help us fully realize our vision of the conscious home and allow us to change the world faster than we ever could if we continued to go it alone. We’ve had great momentum, but this is a rocket ship.”
“Google has the business resources, global scale and platform reach to accelerate Nest growth across hardware, software and services for the home globally,” added Fadell. The startup’s culture and brand will live on under Google, he added. ” We will continue to reimagine and reinvent the unloved products that proliferate in our homes, just as we have since we started. We are simply going to get our products into the hands of people around the world – faster.”
In a statement, Google CEO Larry Page echoed the sentiment.
“Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family. 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,” said Page. “We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!”
Image credit: Nest