Google has snapped up Nest, the US firm that wirelessly enables household items such as thermostats and smoke alarms, for $3.2 billion in cash.
Nest, which was co-founded by former Apple execs Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, designs sleek products that gather domestic data while enabling users to remotely manage their domestic environment.
The company moved quickly to reassure customers about being acquired by Google.
Co-founder Rogers addressed the issue of how the search giant could leverage data gathered from users’ homes.
He also sought to calm any fears about Nest now being in the Android camp. In answer to the question ‘will Nest continue to support iOS so I can have the Nest app on my iPhone and iPad?’, he wrote: “Yes, absolutely. We’ll continue supporting iOS, Android and modern web browsers so you can check in on your home and control the temperature from wherever you are.”
Among other aspects, the deal is interesting in that Google has acquired a company with such strong links to Apple. Fadell is often characterised as the father of the iPod and Rogers was an early engineer on the iPhone.
And Steve Jobs once phoned the founders to complain about the number of Apple employees they were luring to the start-up, which was set up in 2010.
Actually Google has been interested in Nest from its earliest days. Google Ventures led the firm’s Series B and C rounds in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
As Techcrunch points out, Google has been looking at a connected-devices strategy for a while but “hasn’t quite been able to get anything to gel”. There have been abortive efforts such as Android at Home in the past.
With its thermostat, Nest also has a presence in the emerging smart energy market, which promises financial savings to consumers despite the relatively high upfront cost of its devices.
The firm’s $250 thermostat monitors a home’s temperature to establish the owner’s preferred heat, and turns down heating while they are away. Its $130 voice-based smoke alarm sends a notification when its battery is low and can be turned off with a wave of a hand.