This afternoon, Google announced that it reached an agreement to acquire Nest Labs, Inc. Here's what you need to know about the manufacturer of smart thermostats and the terms of their $3.2 billion buyout:
1. Nest Labs Designs Smart Thermostats
Nest Labs designs and manufactures sensor-driven, wi-fi enabled, self-learning, programmable thermostats and smoke detectors. In 2011, they introduced their first product, the self-learning thermostat, which helps users save on their energy bills by discerning which hours they are most likely to be out of the house, and adjusting heating or cooling systems accordingly.
In 2013, Nest Labs introduced their Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm. The device avoids accidental nuisance alarms by giving users an early warning, a human voice explaining where it detects smoke coming from, allowing a user to disable the alarm if the CO2 is coming from an overcooked dinner. The alarm checks its own batteries constantly, and can be integrated with the thermostat, enabling the alarm to shut down a home's gas furnace if it detects unusually high levels of carbon monoxide.
2. Nest Was Co-founded by Two Former Apple Engineers in 2010.
Nest was founded By former Apple Engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers in 2010, in Palo Alto, California. Fadell is known as one of the "fathers of the Ipod."
According to Tech Crunch, Nest will not be changing its name and CEO Tony Fadell will remain at the helm. Nest had over 130 employees by the end of 2012.
3. Google and Nest Have Been In Contact Since the Latter's Beginning
Fadell told Tech Crunch that back at a TED Conference in 2011, just before Nest was launched, Nest VP of business Erik Charlton had 'huddled' with Google's Sergey Brin, showing him a pitch video and early model of the Nest thermostat. Fadell told TC:
“He instantly got what we were doing and so did the rest of the Google team when we showed them. In May 2011, Google Ventures led our Series B round of financing, and in 2012, Series C. Time and time again, Googlers have shown themselves to be incredibly like-minded, supportive and as big of dreamers as we are. 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.”
Google has previously made attempts at connected home devices including Android at Home, but nothing with Nest's level of development and market share.
4. Nest Has Released a Q&A to Reassure Current Customers
Nest will continue to support iOS, and honor its privacy agreement:
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?
5. Nest Has Ongoing Intellectual Property Disputes
One liability Google is taking on with Nest Labs are ongoing lawsuits against the company, one launched by Honywell in 2012, and one by Allure Energy Inc. who believes Nest is in violation of their patent for a "Auto-Adaptable Energy Management Apparatus."