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Google makes Nest Labs their Own

Just when you thought things couldn't get any more Googlish, the search engine makes a play to invade homes – in a good way. Smart thermostats are the key to home-based, high-tech connectivity, and Nest Labs out of Palo Alto, California is one of the top achievers in that industry. Founded in 2010, the company has risen fast in a short time. On January 13, 2014, Nest Labs jumped aboard the Google train after the company announced plans to acquire the smart thermostat manufacturer for 3.2 billion dollars.

A Little about Nest Labs

Nest Labs is what happens when former design team members from Apple get together to form their own company. The first product coming out of Nest Labs was the Learning Thermostat. This electronic, programmable Wi-Fi unit optimizes home temperatures to conserve energy. The thermostat learns as it goes, so it might initially opt for one temperature but keep making adjustments until it fine-tunes the system.

Nest Labs combines old-school HVAC technology with a built-in operating system. As a bonus, the thermostat connects to the Internet, so control goes online. Additionally, it will download patches and upgrades from the mother ship. In 2013, the company announced production of a second product – Nest Protect. This device works as a smoke and carbon monoxide detector.

Google Acquisition

Google's acquisition of Nest Labs came as a surprise to experts who predict these things. Many feel it is Google's attempt to stay ahead of the curve as culture moves into the "Internet of Things" era. While the name is a little creepy, the concept seems clear enough. More and more, people are going online for just about everything. They order pizza online; they do their banking online; plan a vacation and even see their doctor via the Internet, so why not control homes from there as well?

Smart systems introduce homeowners to a fully optimized environment. They manage the climate, lights, security and start their car with the help of a fully automated system. Nest CEO Tony Fadell calls this trend the "conscious home," and smart thermostats are part of it. Nest takes it a step further by creating systems that think for themselves.

Google is clearly thinking for itself, too. They have their nose in just about every high-tech development out there. Nest Labs gives them a way into the connected home marketplace, even if it takes a decade to pay off.

What It All Means for Homeowners

It is hardly news that smart devices are the way of the future. The most recent International CES show was packed full of them. ABI Research estimates the industry will exceed 24 million units in just a few years. This is bleeding-edge technology and Google now controls one of its pioneers. For right now, nothing changes, according to Google statements. They intend to let Nest Labs continue to do their thing without interference. Homeowners will have to decide for themselves if the marriage between these two companies is a good thing.