In Brief

Google Purchases Maker of 'Smart' Thermostats & Smoke Alarms

(Image credit: Annette Shaff | Shutterstock)

Google continues to expand its reach beyond the web and into consumers' homes with the recent purchase of Nest Labs Inc., a company that produces "smart" thermostats and smoke alarms. The search engine giant announced the new $3.2 billion deal yesterday (Jan. 13), reported Reuters.

Nest Labs is known for its "smart" home technology, including a thermostat first introduced in 2011 that can track usage and program itself, based on the user's history of heating and cooling temperatures, according to Reuters. The hockey puck-shaped device can also change hues to match the color of the walls in users' homes, and is equipped with sensors to automatically lower energy settings when the house is empty.

"Nest Labs appears to be focused on thermostats and smoke alarms, but it's not far-fetched to see Google expanding this technology into other devices over time," Shyam Patil, an analyst at Los Angeles-based Wedbush Securities, told Reuters. "Home automation is one of the bigger opportunities when you talk about the Internet of everything and connecting everything. This acquisition furthers their strategy around that."

The Nest Labs acquisition is the second largest in Google's history, after the whopping $12.5 billion purchase of cellphone maker Motorola in 2012.

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Denise Chow
Live Science Contributor

Denise Chow was the assistant managing editor at Live Science before moving to NBC News as a science reporter, where she focuses on general science and climate change. Before joining the Live Science team in 2013, she spent two years as a staff writer for, writing about rocket launches and covering NASA's final three space shuttle missions. A Canadian transplant, Denise has a bachelor's degree from the University of Toronto, and a master's degree in journalism from New York University.