Earlier than expected and for a sum that cannot be calculated rationally, Google has entered into an arrangement to purchase Nest for 3.2 billion in cash. Which totals more than two Instagrams and two Flips… combined. While Nest has grown rapidly, now exceeding 200 employees with healthy buzz and presumably solid sales (which the company does not disclose), the acquisition strikes me as a move to lock up the Nest team and product/service pipeline – before someone else does. Of course, this isn’t Google’s first foray into home monitoring and control. But unlike the short-lived Google powermeter the upside, via retail sales and Google service tie-ins, will be much higher. And, with the connected home as the next frontier, this gives Google one of the hottest players in the game ahead of whatever the likes of Sony or Apple might be working on. (Related, we can’t help but wonder if Apple will keep Nest on store shelves.)
As for me, Nest hasn’t lived up to the hype. I’ve run their “smart” thermostat for over a year now. And neither the learning capabilities nor auto away functionality have been particularly effective. Further, my Nest remains a gadget silo (although there are signs of hope). Given the thermostat’s random reboots and the cost to wire up my home in relation to its perceived value, the $129 Protect is off the table, What I’m left with is a very attractive piece of digital industrial wall art and convenient WiFi temperature control. At $250, I’ve been reluctant to recommend Nest and haven’t taken the plunge on replacing my second thermostat.