Google has announced that it is to buy Nest Labs, Inc., a US-based home automation start-up. The internet giant will pay $3.2 billion in cash for Nest, which was founded by ex-Apple engineers intent on redesigning domestic control devices such as thermostats. While the acquisition will increase Google's presence in the home, it has not been made clear how Nest will be integrated into the business.
Nest's products include a 'self-programming' thermostat that is designed to improve home energy efficiency and a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. The firm's aim is to design products that combine advanced technology with ease-of-use. According to Google, Nest will retain its distinct brand identity and current management.
Nest said on its website that "Google has the business resources, global scale and platform reach to accelerate Nest growth across hardware, software and services for the home globally. And our company visions are well aligned - we both believe in letting technology do the hard work behind the scenes so people can get on with the things that matter in life."
Google has made a number of investments in renewable and clean energy and in 2011 floated the idea of home automation by linking home appliances with mobile devices using its Android platform.