Google's Nest Buys Home Video Monitoring Vendor Dropcam

Dropcam offers in-home video surveillance cameras with cloud monitoring services. A price for the acquisition was not announced.

Google acquisition and expansion

Five months after being acquired by Google in January, Nest Labs is now purchasing in-home video monitoring vendor Dropcam to extend its high-tech services in the connected homes of its customers.

The acquisition of Dropcam for $555 million was announced by Matt Rogers, Nest founder and head of engineering, in a company blog post June 20. "Although this was a big decision for us, it wasn't a difficult one to make," Rogers wrote of the purchase. "Before deciding to extend an offer to Dropcam, we spent a lot of time looking at camera companies and technologies around the world. And I can say without a doubt, Dropcam has the best products, services, and customer experience in the business."

Dropcam declined to comment on the deal today when contacted by eWEEK.

With Dropcam, customers buy a special video camera for $149 for the standard version or $199 for the pro version, including improved low-light and other capabilities, and install them in their homes so they can see what's happening inside 24/7 from anywhere in the world. The cameras are connected to a cloud network that can record video for review on any connected devices from afar.

The acquisition will now allow the two companies to build products that connect with each other, wrote Rogers. "Eventually, the plan is for us to work together to reinvent products that will help shape the future of the conscious home and bring our shared vision to more and more people around the world."

Greg Duffy, the CEO of Dropcam, wrote in a separate post on his company's blog that Dropcam was founded in 2009 "to help you know what goes on at home when you aren't there." Dropcam came about because other products weren't meeting the needs of customers, he wrote.

"Nest and Dropcam are kindred spirits," wrote Duffy. "Both were born out of frustration with outdated, complicated products that do the opposite of making life better. After numerous conversations with Nest Founders Tony [Fadell] and Matt, it was clear that we shared a similar vision."

According to Dropcam's Website, the company's creation was inspired when Duffy's father wanted to determine which neighborhood dog was using his yard as a bathroom. Duffy's dad tried setting up a video camera but couldn't get it to work well and had trouble storing the collected video on his computer, according to the company. That's when Duffy and a friend came up with the idea for a cloud video camera service, which led to the creation of Dropcam.

This is the first acquisition by Nest since it was acquired by Google in January 2014 for $3.2 billion. Google made the purchase as part of its continuing quest to become a major player in the connected home Internet of things market, according to an earlier eWEEK report. Nest's first two products were sensor-driven, WiFi-enabled, self-learning, programmable thermostats (2011) and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (2013). The Nest Learning Thermostat is an electronic, programmable and self-learning WiFi-enabled thermostat that optimizes heating and cooling of homes and businesses to conserve electricity.

Dropcam is a cloud-based WiFi video monitoring service that includes live streaming, two-way talk and remote viewing so that users can see what's happening in their homes. Users have access to mobile and Web apps to view free live-streaming video via iOS, Android and desktop or laptop computers.