Silicon Valley smart home brand Nest launched its first product in 2011—an intelligent thermostat—and got purchased several years ago by Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Since then, it’s been in the news frequently for numerous reasons. Let’s examine some of them.
Google takes control of Nest
Although Google acquired Nest in 2014, it took full control of the company in 2018 and no longer desired to keep Nest operating autonomously under a separate umbrella within Alphabet.
In response to the purchase, Rick Osterloh, the man in charge of Google’s hardware, noted: “All of Google’s investments in machine learning and AI, they can very clearly benefit Nest products. It just makes sense to be developing them together.”
Nest’s CEO Marwan Fawaz also mentioned that people could eventually use their Google accounts with Nest products.
How did Nest affect earnings for Alphabet and Google? Stock market data shows Nest generated $726 million in 2017 revenue but lost approximately $621 million.
Related to that, Google CEO Sundar Pichai declined to say how many gadgets the company sold that year. However, he revealed, “in 2017, they sold more devices than in the previous two years combined.”
Amazon refuses to sell Nest products
With a decision that some people say highlights the anti-competitive mood between Google and Amazon, the latter company announced in March 2018 that it would not sell any more Nest-branded items after their existing inventory runs out.
This decision began to percolate when Amazon chose not to sell some of Nest’s newer products and did not respond to queries about why that was the case. When Amazon finally broke the news about staunchly refusing to carry the new products, the company said it had been a top-down choice, suggesting it may have come directly from CEO Jeff Bezos.
Then, Nest decided to remove all its products from Amazon. Their reasoning was that Amazon should carry all the products in the Nest family or none at all.
It’s important to point out, though, that some third-party sellers doing business on Amazon offer Prime-eligible Nest products. Those fall under the “fulfilled by Amazon” umbrella. So, for the interim, people can still buy some Nest products, but not directly through Amazon itself.
After that, Google removed the YouTube app from Amazon Fire products as well as the Echo Show and Spot speakers in retaliation.
Notable new Nest products
When reviewing the most recent news about Nest, the content isn’t complete without a look at some of Nest’s latest products. Now, in addition to keeping their homes at desirable temperatures through smart thermostats, Nest product owners can invest in a doorbell called the Nest Hello that lets them see visitors without getting up from the couch.
The smart technology behind the gadget learns to recognize faces of familiar people. Also, Google’s technology is already evident in the Nest Hello. You can sync the doorbell with Google Assistant and Google Home, thereby making your Google Home speaker announce the name of a known person on the doorstep.
There’s also the Nest x Yale smart door lock, which prevents you from fumbling around in your pocket to find a set of keys. Some people wonder if the gadgets we’ll use soon—such as tablets and laptops—won’t have built-in ports because so many tech accessories have migrated to wireless connectivity. Will there also come a time where we don’t need to look for lost keys or hide the spares in potted plants and under doormats because our door locks are better than before?
When using the Nest x Yale lock, you gain access through a door by punching in a master passcode on the keypad or using an app on your smartphone. The lock also recognizes secondary passcodes, like the one you might give a baby sitter or person you hired to water your plants while you’re on vacation.
Nest might move into the health realm
As it stands, most people think of Nest solely as a smart home company. That may not be the case for much longer, though. The brand is reportedly one of four entities interested in purchasing assets in Nokia’s health division.
Nokia bought Withings, a French health company, in 2016 and now produces several high-tech health products for home use. They include body weight scales and sleep trackers. The health branch of Nokia hasn’t been as profitable as expected, which triggered news about the possibility it’d be up for sale.
If the sale goes to Nest, it will represent a huge step for Google into the health sector. Although the brand has a Google Health app and made fitness features for some wearable devices, the sale could enable the brand to test the waters in much more significant ways.
What’s next for Nest?
It shouldn’t be long before people notice even more integration with Google when using Nest—but they shouldn’t count on buying new Nest products from Amazon. It’ll be fascinating to see how some of the developments profiled above turn out.
Kayla Matthews is a technology journalist and productivity blogger. She is a senior writer for MakeUseOf and the owner and editor of her tech productivity blog, Productivity Bytes. You can read more by Kayla at Inc.com, VentureBeat, DMN, and more.