Advertising giant Google has announced that it is to acquire smart thermostat creator Next Labs for a whopping $3.2 billion, as the company looks to become more involved in the Internet of Things (IoT).
Nest Labs, co-founded by former Apple designer Tony Fadell, generated considerable interest in the US when it launched an eponymous network-connected thermostat. Able, the company claimed, to automatically program itself, allow remote control from smartphones and tablets, and to lower heating and cooling bills by up to 20 per cent, the neatly-designed gadget took off.
Recently, the company announced a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm dubbed Nest Protect as well as the availability of the original Nest outside the US, but its delayed international launch has allowed competitors to sneak into the market, including British Gas's markedly similar Hive platform.
That hasn't stopped Google plopping down $3.2 billion in cash for the company, however. 'Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family,' claimed Google chief executive Larry Page of the acquisition. '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. We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfil their dreams.'
Google has pledged to allow Nest to continue under Fadell's leadership and with its own brand identity despite the new ownership, and promises that development of the iOS Nest app will continue. Meanwhile, Fadell has attempted to allay privacy concerns by stating that personally identifiable Nest customer data - such as when the thermostat is active, providing clues as to the habits of its owners - will not be shared with Google's advertising divisions.
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