Google Buys Home Automation Company Nest

On Monday, Google announced it had purchased Nest Labs for $3.2 billion. Nest is focused on the "automated home" concept, making smoke detectors and thermostats that connect to the Internet. Google's purchase signals a strong interest in this arena.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Google just paid over $3 billion for a company that makes smart thermostats and smoke alarms for homes and offices. Nest Labs has been more successful than Google at getting into people's homes with these Internet-connected home devices. Some analysts say that's exactly why Google wanted it.

NPR's Laura Sydell reports.

LAURA SYDELL, BYLINE: Google's been trying a bunch of experiments to collect more information about us beyond knowing what we look for online.

FRANK GILLETT: You can't really think of Google as a search engine company any more. They're really trying to organize the world's information.

SYDELL: That's Frank Gillett, an analyst at Forrester Research. He says Google's attempts to get into the home, say, through Google TV, hasn't done so well. Nest's Internet smart thermostats, which make adjustments based on your habits, are selling well.

GILLETT: Because it can tell when you're home and when you're in the room, it will notice maybe that you shifted to an earlier time to leave for work and turn off the heat sooner.

SYDELL: Nest can also be adjusted from an App on your smart phone. And that's part of its appeal to Google, which sees it as a way to draw more people to mobile devices that use its Android operating system.

Nest was founded by Tony Fadell, one of the first engineers on the iPhone team at Apple. In a statement, Fadell said that both his company and Google share a vision of letting technology work behind the scenes so people can focus on more important stuff.

For now, Nest says it will continue to honor the privacy policies it has in place and its thermostat will still work on Apple mobile devices.

Laura Sydell, NPR News.

Copyright © 2014 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.