Is Google is making a play to get into your home and stay there? Homeowners, you may have noticed … Google’s consumer footprint has gotten a bit wider lately.
A few weeks ago, Google acquired Nest Learning, a Palo Alto-based manufacturer of automated thermostats and smoke detectors for $3.2 billion. And at that price, Google may be betting on home automation being the next big thing. If home automation grows by leaps and bounds a door will be opened to Google to expand its Nest product line, nesting in our homes, if you will, in a much different way than we are currently accustomed to.
Whether its scouring the net for a Groupon discount, looking up our favorite sports team’s recent score, or shopping for shoes, clothing, or a vacation rental, the products and services available to us via a Google search seem endless.
And perhaps we are all abetting this online shopping trend by becoming a society of overzealous users, who seemingly need access to goods and services 24–7. But don’t misunderstand me, I’m not against it. Mindful internet use can be a good thing.
Does Google Want Its Nest in Your Nest?
I’ve installed a few Nest Learning Thermostats over the past year, and it wouldn’t surprise me if the Nest helps to reshape the thermostat market, much in the way the iPhone transformed the cell phone industry. But a note of consumer caution here: I’m not implying that a Nest thermostat as something you should run out and buy right away.
Still, it is an appealing device with some nice benefits, and it may be something to take a look at if you appreciate what home automation has to offer. The Nest Thermostat, however, doesn’t come cheap. But at $250 for one device I believe it’s a good value. Here are a few of Nest’s benefits:
- The design is sleek and attractive. The round, slightly domed shape is nice to look at. Plus, when it’s heating up it glows orange and blue when it’s cooling down.
- It can be programmed online. You can download your energy use, get updates, and make changes to your settings by merely going to nest.com.
- It’s a smart device and learns. There are several automated thermostats out there. But the Nest is the only one that can “learn,” and program itself. After one week, Nest will have learned how to manage your comfort zone: It creates a program based on your heating and cooling preferences.
- Energy Savings. The manufacturer claims the Nest thermostat will recoup its cost within two years. After, it can help reduce energy consumption as much as 20%.
Nest Learning is the brainchild of ex-Apple iPad designers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. Apparently the standard thermostat design, which hadn’t changed in several generations, wasn’t cutting it for these guys. And in 2011, they came up with Nest, a sharp looking, easy-to-use, energy-saving thermostat, which is helping to transform the industry.
The Nest has two proximity sensors to detect if someone is in a room. If it detects no one is home it’ll drop in temperature; vice-versa if someone is there. If you forget to turn it off while rushing out the door, for example, it responds accordingly by lowering the temperature.
Nest brings competition and innovation to the heating industry. Other companies produce automated thermostats, such as Honeywell’s Prestige and Ecobee’s Smart Thermostat, but Nest is the only device that can “learn” on the job. Mainly, though, I appreciate Nest for what it offers homeowners: potential cost savings, simplicity of use and perhaps a slight respite from the complexities of modern life.