The Interned searching giant unveiled its plans to acquire Nest Labs, the home gadget maker founded by iPod inventor Tony Fadell, for a record amount of money, The Telegraph reports.
The deal is considered to be the second largest in Google’s history, following its $9.4bn acquisition of Motorola Mobility, and is expected to herald the start of a major push into consumer devices.
The Nest Learning Thermostat learns and remembers the temperatures of air you prefer,automatically turns down when its owner is away and can be controlled from anywhere via Wi-Fi.
Users can log onto their Nest accounts to change the temperature and adjust their own schedule or settings, and see exactly how much energy is running away.
“The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector aims keep you informed about potential safety risks without blaring at you. It speaks with a human voice and gives you “a friendly heads-up” when smoke or CO is detected,” The Telegraph explains.
“It tells you which room the smoke or CO is in, and it just takes a wave to quieten down. It will also send a message to the app on your smartphone if the alarm goes off while you are out of the house or the emergency batteries run low.”
Both devices are based on the growing trend for home automation – the use of computer and information technology to control the gadgets you left at home. The home automation market is estimated to be worth $48 billion (£29bn) by 2018, according to market research firm MarketsandMarkets.
However, as many analysts claim, the acquisition of Nest Labs is not just about buying into the latest technological fad. It’s also about gaining yet more access to customers’ data.
Analyst Ray Wang of Constellation Research suggested that buying Nest boosts Google’s position in the next battlegrounds when it comes to connected devices: “The next battle in connected devices will be cars and homes,” he told MarketWatch. “This is really about going after connected devices and delivering them on Google platforms.”
“The acquisition is all about making the ‘Connected Home’ a reality and is a building block in the ‘Internet of Things’. If any company can make this a reality then Google must stand a reasonable chance,” agreed Richard Holway, analyst at TechMarketView.
The new deal is believed to value Nest at more than $2m for every day it has been in business, but its owner said it had not sold the business to the web search giant “on a whim”.
“Google has been in the mix in some way or another for about three years of our almost four-year history,” he said.
Nest Labs CEO is also “set for a major windfall”, experts say, although the engineer has joked in the past that he is already so rich he “never needs to work again”.