It seems that Google is scooping up more than robotics companies these days. Google announced this week that it has acquired Nest Labs, a company best known for the manufacture of “reinvented” smoke alarms and thermostats, which includes, among other things, the ability to control both systems via an app.
Nest products, like so many others these days, are “smart,” meaning that, in addition to remote and mobile-control capabilities, they learn and adjust based on input from the user. The thermostat is particularly impressive, displaying the temperature digitally with a glass screen that also changes color to blend in with the wall it’s on. The thermostat learns by registering data about when users turn the heat up or down, and for how long. Eventually, it can predict users’ needs by preemptively turning off the heat when people leave for work or turn it up at night. It makes sense that Google would acquire a company making this technology, given Google’s use of deep learning and its systematic infiltration of consumers’ homes, lives, and minds.