The Internet search engine giant, an early investor in Nest Labs, says it has purchased the company for $3.2 billion in cash. Nest will continue to operate as a separate brand and under the leadership of CEO Tony Fadell and head of engineering Matt Rogers, Google says.
Fadell, former vice president of Apple’s iPhone and iPod division and Rogers, a former Apple engineer, founded Nest Labs in May 2010. Their first product, which was introduced in late 2011, was a smart thermostat that uses six sensors to learn a user’s preferred temperatures and schedule and then adjust the setting accordingly.
The learning thermostat quickly became one of the most popular products in the smart home market. It has since undergone two major software updates and is now sold in Canada and in the US at Lowe’s, Amazon and the online Apple store.
The thermostat is designed to learn and then automatically save energy. It has a number of features including filter reminders, and Auto-Away, a setting that automatically turns itself down when a homeowner is away to save energy and reduce costs.
The thermostat’s Auto-Tune setting powers two services: rush-hour rewards, which tweaks temperatures during peak hours, and seasonal savings, which fine tunes the homeowner’s schedule over a few weeks to help save. Depending on the weather, Nest users save 5 percent to 10 percent with their tuned-up schedules, the company says.
The Natural Resources Defense Council released a report in October 2013 that validates the substantial savings available by catching stray energy in buildings.
Some examples of “stray” include thermostats that are set for specific events and not re-set afterwards, broken sensors for fans or pumps, and problems with energy management software that goes undetected.