Google buys smart appliance maker for US$3.2 billion

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Various news portals reported that Google is making a huge investment in the “internet of things” with its US$3.2 billion acquisition of smart appliance maker Nest.

Founded by former Apple employees Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, the company is known for its intelligent thermostat and smoke detector.

The thermostat, which retails for US$250, keeps track of the temperatures that users prefer and automatically conserves energy when nobody is at home. It can also link with Wi-Fi, allowing it to analyse outside weather conditions and adjust internal temperatures accordingly.

The smoke detector, which has a price tag of US$130, alerts users of possible fires and is capable of sending notifications to a user’s phone when it is low on power. It can be conveniently silenced with a simple hand gesture.

Although Nest has yet to disclose how many smart devices it has sold, some reports have revealed that the firm is shipping as many as 50,000 units per month.

The goal of Nest is to reinvent unloved household appliances, explained Fadell. “From the beginning, our vision was to create a conscious home. A home that is more thoughtful, intuitive – and nice to look at.”

“Google will help us fully realise our vision of the conscious home and allow us to change the world faster than we ever could if we continued to go it alone. We’ve had great momentum, but this is a rocket ship,” he added.

The “internet of things” is the emergence of net-connectable devices, appliances and cars whose functionalities are further enhanced by their connection to the World Wide Web.

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