Google buys smart thermostat maker Nest for $3.2 billion

Google stands to gain a massive stream of new data about people's daily habits

Google has acquired Nest, a company that makes a home thermostat that can be programmed from people's mobile phones, for US$3.2 billion in cash, Google said on Monday.

The founders of Nest, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, "have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family," Google CEO Larry Page said in a statement.

The transaction, Google said, is expected to close in the next few months.

Nest confirmed the deal with a Twitter message, adding that "Nest will stay Nest." Nest launched in 2011, and will continue under the leadership of Fadell, Google said in its announcement.

Nest's products include a home thermostat and a smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, which are designed to "learn" from users' habits. "Most people leave the house at one temperature and forget to change it," Nest says on the website of its thermostat. "The Nest Learning Thermostat learns your schedule, programs itself and can be controlled from your phone."

Nest's data could give Google a massive stream of interesting data about what people do in their homes. It could also advance the company's aims to become a stronger fixture in people's homes, which it is already trying to do through hardware like its Chromecast media streaming device and Chromebook laptops.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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