Google Buys Nest, Tony Fadell’s Apple Of Smart Home Tech

nest-thermostat

Google has bought Nest Labs, the hot startup co-founded by the father of the original iPod, Tony Fadell, for a hefty $3.2 billion. Nest has been making forward-thinking gadgets for the home, like its popular thermostat, since 2011. The Nest Protect smoke detector was just announced in October of 2013.

Interestingly, Google has promised that Nest will remain its own distinct brand and operate under the leadership of Fadell.

“Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family, “said Google CEO Larry Page in a press release. “They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now–thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe. We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!”

Google Ventures has been an investor in Nest since 2011, so the acquisition doesn’t come as a complete surprise.

The "Father of the iPod," Tony Fadell.

The “Father of the iPod,” Tony Fadell.

“This decision wasn’t made on a whim – Google has been in the mix in some way or another for about three years of our almost four-year history,” explained Fadell. “In fact, my first meeting with Google as a Nester was before we’d launched. At the 2011 TED Conference, Erik Charlton and I huddled in a corner with Sergey Brin to show him a video and an early model of the Nest Learning Thermostat – he instantly got what we were doing and so did the rest of the Google team when we showed them… I know that joining Google will be an easy transition because we’re partnering with a company that gets what we do and who we are at Nest –and wants us to stay that way.”

Fadell’s team at Nest includes several ex-Apple engineers. His other co-founder is Matt Rogers, a former Apple software executive. Fadell himself oversaw 18 generations of the iPod and the first three generations of the iPhone before leaving Apple in 2008. “A source familiar with details of the acquisition said that Google was the only serious bidder and Apple was not in the mix,” according to Re/code.

On Nest’s official blog, there’s a quick Q&A about what the news means for customers, including privacy concerns:

Will Nest continue to support iOS so I can have the Nest app on my iPhone or iPad?
Yes, absolutely. We’ll continue supporting iOS, Android and modern web browsers so you can check in on your home and control the temperature from wherever you are.

Will Nest and Google products work with each other?
Nest’s product line obviously caught the attention of Google and I’m betting that there’s a lot of cool stuff we could do together, but nothing to share today.

What will happen to the Nest warranties on products?
No change there – we stand behind our products like we always have.

Will I still be able to find Nest products at my local retailer?
You bet. We intend to continue selling through the same partners in the US, Canada and the UK.

Will Nest customer data be shared with Google?
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.

  • TheMacGuy

    Damn it, damn it, damn it!!!!! The only reason I use Google is for my YouTube channel. Now they’ll have control of my Nest? The only thing they can use the tech for is evil. I knew Apple should have bought Nest. I F*cking KNEW IT!!!

  • pmontanarella

    Still can’t understand why Apple didn’t try to acquire the company. Unless they already have a home automation strategy in mind (something that wouldn’t surprise me), then acquiring Nest would have been smart, not to mention it would prevent other companies from acquiring it *cough* Google *cough*.

About the author

Alex HeathAlex Heath is a senior writer at Cult of Mac and co-host of the CultCast. He has been quoted by the likes of the BBC, KRON 4 News, and books like "ICONIC: A Photographic Tribute to Apple Innovation." If you want to pitch a story, share a tip, or just get in touch, additional contact information is available on his personal site. Twitter always works too.

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