Google, which dominates much of life on the internet, has been trying to expand beyond computers and cellphones to living rooms, cars and even your bodies.
It has made its way just a bit further into people’s homes by agreeing to pay $3.2 billion in cash for Nest labs, which makes internet connected devices like thermostats and smoke alarms.
Internet companies are vying to be the gateway through which people live every aspect of their lives- searching, socializing, reading, shopping, exercising, and even sleeping. Their businesses particularly advertising are built on watching the way people behave online.
Nest’s products track not just a home’s temperature and the presence of smoke but also when people wake up, leave and return home.
It is easy to see how Google products could be integrated into nest. Nest users who log in to Google could theoretically someday see their home’s temperature or an alert about the presence of smoke in email, and information about a person’s home life could be used to target ads.
Google has talked about connecting home devices, known as the internet of things, for several years, but has made little traction. Now it is expanding beyond its search engine roots into hardware including through its $13 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility and its development of devices like Google glass and Chromecast, for internet connected television.
Though Google once differentiated itself from Apple by giving software to hardware developers, like Android for mobile phones instead of making the hardware itself, the Nest acquisition is part of a shift away from that strategy.