The Nest thermostat and more recently, the Nest Protect smoke detector, are both pretty clever devices that talk to each other and to your smart phone. Now, they are talking to Google, which is buying Nest Labs for $ 3.2 billion. Wired says they are doing it for the designers;
Buying Nest doesn’t bring [Designer Jony] Ive to Google. But Fadell might be an even better catch. Fadell is an engineer with demonstrated mastery over all aspects of the hardware process, with a high-design sensibility to boot. From supply chain and components to fit and finish, Fadell has shown he can manage a product for a company with Apple’s global reach.
Alexis Madrigal says it's for the robotics;
Nest is a cryptorobotics company. It deals in sensing, automation, and control. It may not make a personable, humanoid robot, but it is producing machine intelligences that can do things in the physical world.
At sister site MNN, Matt Hickman gives a long and thoughtful analysis of the sale, in Google charges full-speed ahead into smart homes with Nest acquisition:
Just days after the conclusion of International CES, the annual tech bonanza in Las Vegas where, this year, the phrase on the tip of everyone’s tongues was (aside from “Wi-Fi enabled Crock-Pot") “connected home,” Google has made an aggressive, game-changing entry into just that: the connected home.
Matt notes some of the security concerns:
The acquisition has also managed to raise a few eyebrows due to, well, the very of nature of how Google operates. Google analyst Danny Sullivan explains to the New York Times: “Google likes to know everything they can about us, so I suppose devices that are monitoring what’s going on in our homes is another excellent way for them to gather that information. The more they’re tied into our everyday life, the more they feel they can deliver products we’ll like and ads.”
More at MNN. Of course, the jokes are all over the internet.
If your house is burning down you’ll now get gmail ads for fire extinguishers— Sam Faulkner Biddle (@samfbiddle) January 13, 2014