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Nest Thermostat

Google buys domestic technology firm Nest in first step towards connected home

News: Google has announced it is poised to acquire domestic technology firm Nest for $3.2 billion, a move that will increase the tech giant's presence in the home. 

Google made the announcement yesterday that it is to pay $3.2 billion (£2 billion) for Nest, which was founded in 2010 by former Apple executives Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. The company produces network-enabled home infrastructure such as thermostats and smoke alarms that can be controlled from smartphones.

The acquisition is the second largest in Google's history, after its takeover of Motorola Mobility in 2011. The move suggests Google is rushing to achieve the creation of a connected home, where objects and appliances monitor residents' behaviour and communicate with each other to adjust the domestic environment.

Integrating such a system in homes before rivals like Apple would force subsequent products to rely on Google's technology and protocols.

Despite Google's ownership of the Android operating system, Nest assured its users that the technology will remain compatible with Apple's iOS software and other web browsers in statement on the company's website.

After the acquisition, Nest will continue to be led by Fadell under the same name and branding. The closing of the deal is subject to conditions and approvals, but it is expected in next few months.

Nest Protect smoke alarm
Nest Protect smoke alarm

The Nest Thermostat (main image) is designed to learn what temperatures a resident likes their home to be and builds a personalised schedule by picking up on routines. The thermostat can be adjusted using a smartphone app, allowing home owners to control their energy usage remotely.

The firm's recently launched smoke alarm Nest Protect can also detect carbon monoxide, gives an early warning using lights and speech, plus can be silenced with the wave of a hand. It too connects with smart devices to alert the user when it is activated.

"[Nest is] already delivering amazing products you can buy right now - thermostats that save energy and smoke alarms that can help keep your family safe," said Google CEO Larry Page. "We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfil their dreams."

"With [Google's] support, Nest will be even better placed to build simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world," said Fadell.

Last week we reported that Google has joined up with automotive manufacturers to integrate its Android operating system into cars, another a step towards the completely integrated network of objects and systems that has come to be known as the Internet of Things.