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Google Buys Nest

January 13, 2014 – by Per Christensson

Nest Thermostat Your house may soon get a lot smarter. Today, Google announced it is acquiring Nest, a company that makes "smart" thermostats. While Google acquires several companies each year, this one stood out to me for two reasons.

1) The price: $3.2 billion. That is a hefty price tag and represents the potential Google sees in Nest's products.

2) Google's role in the future of smart homes. For several years, smart homes have been more of an idea than a reality. I think Google's foray into this market will bring smart homes to the masses.

So what exactly is a smart home? It's a home where you can control just about everything remotely, such as the lighting, temperature, windows, blinds, and even individual appliances. They also communicate with your computer, smartphone, or tablet. For example, a smart carbon monoxide detector can send an alert to your phone and provide you with instructions on what to do if high CO levels are detected. Many "smart" devices can automatically adapt to their surroundings as well. For instance, smart blinds can automatically close when it is sunny and raise themselves when it is cloudy to improve energy efficiency.

While "wearable technology" was the main focus of many companies at this year's CES, I think Google's announcement today was bigger than anything that came out of Las Vegas last week. Until now, smart homes have been fragmented, using different devices by different companies. Google just might have what it takes to consolidate smart home technology into a universal solution.

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