An Idiot’s Guide To Nest: Google’s New R35 billion baby

By on January 15, 2014

Google’s new acquisition Nest Labs makes a thermostat that learns your heating habits. The connected home is coming.

Google has bought a company called Nest Labs for R35 billion. What’s the big deal?

What is nest?

A Sillicon Valley start-up founded by ex-Apple engineers (including Tony Fadell, the dude who designed the iPod) in 2010, which makes clever home gadgets that connect to your smartphone. Its thermostat learns what temperature you like your house at, turns itself off when you leave the house and allegedly saves you up to 20% on heating bills in the process. There’s also a smoke alarm voiced by a human rather than a wailing beep, which you can wave at to turn off.

R35 billion sounds like a helluva lot of money for a gizmo that’s only sold in the US and Canada, but Google quarterly revenues are around R163 billion, so it’s kinda small change for the search giant. Google is also super keen to expand its hardware sales, and has been snapping up lots of robotics companies recently – it’s clearly not content with just dressing us in Google Glasses (if people get over looking like tech dweebs). Apparently Google execs all have Nest gadgets in their home, so maybe Larry, Sergey and co loved ‘intelligent’ temperature control so much they just had to have it for themselves.

Google has been embroiled in much speculation over privacy issues recently and Nest’s co-founder Matt Rogers took to their blogto try to allay everyone’s Big Brother fears: “Our privacy policy clearly limits the use of customer information to providing and improving Nest’s products and services. We’ve always taken privacy seriously and this will not change,” he says

Word on the tech street is that companies are falling over themselves to invent more things that can be controlled at the touch of a smartphone button, and it seems Google would love to be that company (or buy them). MT just hopes wires don’t get crossed when our ovens and dishwashers come online.

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