This week Google announced the acquisition of Nest for $3.2 billion. Nest is a young but quickly growing tech company founded by Apple veterans Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. Nest creates “smart thermostats and smoke detectors” that learn your behaviors and adjust usage accordingly. Operated in the cloud, Nest smoke detectors can send your phone a message when the battery is running low and the thermostats can be similarly regulated from a mobile device. It programs itself to run your energy usage more efficiently and becomes more intuitive over time based on your home energy consumption patterns.
The Internet of Things
Google sits on over 56 billion in cash so this investment, however mind-boggling to me, won’t break the bank. What the acquisition does however is provide Google with an opportunity to become more product-focused with product that should be relatively easy to integrate into their other existing platforms. Google is busy in your living spaces currently through Android and Chromecast, the streaming TV gadget, as well as computers and tablets, however as Larry Dignan points out in a piece he wrote this week, “Google’s purchase highlights the importance of the internet of things.” The internet of things is an increasingly popular description of ‘uniquely identifiable objects and their virtual representations in an Internet-like structure.’ Sounds suspiciously Orwellian and cryptic to this 39 year old but I also get it. The technology silo is starting to breakdown and through the internet, we’re starting to see the interconnectedness of product, data, communication and lifestyle. Google bought expertise and the gateway drug to intuitive product and product that can create a greater level of entanglement between consumer and provider (Google). If Fadell stays with Google, which I am inclined to think he will based on interviews, they will have the global platform and muscle to realize their goal for smart, internet-based product development and sales.