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Google doles out $3.2bn for smart thermostat maker Nest Labs

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Stuart Thomas: Senior Reporter
Stuart Thomas joined the Burn Media team in 2011 while finishing off an MA in South African Literature. Eager to prove his geek credentials, he allowed himself... More

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Boom… 2014 just got its first really big acquisition. Google has just announced that it has struck a deal to buy Nest Labs, best known for its smart thermostat, for US$3.2-billion.

On the surface, it doesn’t seem like Google struck the cash-only deal in order take advantage of any one particular technology being produced by Nest. Instead, the message it’s putting forward is that it’s keen to push Nest technologies into a much larger number of homes around the world.

Google CEO Larry Page said, “Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family. 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 fulfil their dreams!”

Fadell, at least, appeared to be singing from the same hymn sheet. “We’re thrilled to join Google. With their support, Nest will be even better placed to build simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world,” he said.

It probably doesn’t hurt that Nest will continue to operate as an individual entity under the guidance of Fadell, a former Apple executive.

That said, the buyout does give Google another in when it comes to taking advantage of the rising number of opportunities offered by the Internet of Things in the home.

One scenario which seems appealing and line with Google’s vision under Page is the eventual ability to control a variety of Nest devices using Google Glass (or the next evolution of it).

While that’s mostly speculation right now, it actually also rings true with what Fadell wrote on the Nest blog in the wake of the announcement.

“Google will help us fully realize our vision of the conscious home and allow us to change the world faster than we ever could if we continued to go it alone,” he writes.