Google buys smart meter innovators Nest for $3.2 billion

Clare Saxon Ghauri
14 January 2014

LONDON: Google has announced it is buying Nest Labs for US$3.2 billion, a move which could accelerate innovation and leadership on energy efficient homes.

California-based Nest makes ‘smart’ Internet-connected, mobile-controlled thermostats and was founded by Tony Fadell, who is known for creating the iPod with Steve Jobs.

The acquisition ranks as Google’s second biggest in history after Motorola Mobility, which Google bought for US$9.4 billion. Google had previously monitored energy use with its PowerMeter project, which was retired in September, 2011. 

Larry Page, CEO, Google, said in a statement: “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 fulfill their dreams!”

Nest’s smart thermostats are designed to save energy by working out whether or not a building is occupied, using clever sensors and learning from users’ behaviour.

Tony Fadell, CEO, Nest, said: “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.”

CenterPoint Energy Houston Electric, LLC and U.S. Deputy Secretary of Energy Daniel B. Poneman carried out a survey in 2011 which found that 71% of customers changed their electricity consumption behavior as a result of having access to their energy use data.

Installing smart meters and thermostats can greatly benefit businesses and governments as well as homes. A report released last year estimates that the widespread adoption of smart ICTs across US state federal agencies would result in savings of over US$5 billion in energy costs through 2020.

Related news:

"Innovative business can be a force for positive change" - Kevin Moss, BT

US federal agencies stand to save $5 billion by 2020 through smarter ICT

Sustainable innovation in cities PART 2: The challenge of information products

By Clare Saxon

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