Google’s Nest Labs is opening its APIs to other companies—including Mercedes-Benz, Logitech and Whirlpool—so they can work with Nest on improving a wide range of consumer products inside and outside the home for energy savings and other benefits.
The APIs are being made available through the Nest Developer Program, which will allow more than 5,000 interested developers to “create meaningful interactions among Nest products and others,” according to a June 24 statement by the company. “More than just linking and remote controlling the devices in your home, the Nest Developer Program allows everything from lighting to appliances to fitness bands and even cars to securely connect with Nest products, bringing the conscious home to life by making those homes safer, more energy-efficient, and more aware.”
Nest 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 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.
The Nest Developer Program and the API-sharing efforts are aimed at driving additional innovations for consumers, according to Matt Rogers, founder and vice president of engineering at Nest. “The Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Protect alarm are already helping people save energy, stay comfortable and improve home safety—but that’s only the beginning,” Rogers said in a statement. “Our goal has always been to bring this kind of thoughtfulness to the rest of your home and life—and that’s what the Nest Developer Program is all about.”
A Nest spokesperson declined to comment further on the move when contacted today by eWEEK.
So far, Nest APIs are being used by companies in products now, including Mercedes-Benz vehicles, which can tell Nest thermostats when to begin cooling or heating your home before you arrive, and the Logitech Harmony Ultimate universal TV remote, which can be used to dim room lights, turn on a TV, start a movie and control the room temperature via a Nest thermostat, all from its control pad, according to Nest. New Whirlpool clothes dryers can work with Nest thermostats to switch into longer, more energy-efficient cycles when residents are away, using the interactions between the products.
LIFX light bulbs also include a connection to Nest APIs, offering the ability to act as a smoke or carbon monoxide detector by flashing red to signal danger, and the ability to randomly turn on and off when the Nest thermostat is in vacation mode to deter thieves who may notice a house is vacant, according to Nest.
Additional product integrations are expected this fall with other manufacturers, including garage door openers that operate when homeowners arrive and Google Now integrations that can allow users to tell Nest thermostats where to set the temperature before they get home.
All of these integrations and more are possible by using the Nest APIs to create combinations of products and services, according to Nest. “With the Nest application programming interfaces (API), all developers—from global corporations and small companies to startups and hobbyists—can access Home and Away states, smoke and CO alerts, and peak-energy rush-hour events to build interesting and meaningful integrations while maintaining control of their own user experiences. In all instances, Nest customers must authorize a connection before any data is shared.”
The Nest Developer Program supports applications built for iOS, Android and the Web and uses industry-standard Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption.
A special “Nest for Developers” session with more details on the Nest API integrations will be held at the Google I/O developers conference on Thursday, June 26 at 5 p.m. ET.
Google’s Nest Labs Opens Its APIs to Innovations From Other Firms
“When we first heard about the Nest Developer Program, we knew we wanted to be a part of it,” Phil Bosua, the founder and CEO of LIFX, said in a statement. “Nest brings a whole other dimension to LIFX. Who would have thought by combining Nest products and LIFX products, we could help save lives?”
This is the second big news announcement by Nest in a week. On June 20, Nest announced that it is purchasing in-home video monitoring vendor Dropcam for $555 million to extend its high-tech services in the connected homes of its customers. 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. 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.
The Dropcam purchase by Nest Labs follows a string of other acquisitions by Google in the last few months. Earlier this month, Google announced the acquisition of satellite and satellite imaging vendor Skybox Imaging for $500 million. The Skybox deal will help keep Google Maps accurate with up-to-date imagery, while also contributing to other Google projects. Founded in 2009, Skybox Imaging builds satellites and software in the pursuit of scalable computing and analytics to help find answers to the world’s most important geo-spatial problems regardless of data source, according to the company.
In May 2014, Google bought mobile-device management vendor Divide for an undisclosed price to help increase enterprise use of its Android-powered mobile devices in workplaces by offering increased security and compliance controls for businesses.
Also in May, Google announced the purchase of Stackdriver, a Boston-based company that was started in 2012 to provide cloud application monitoring and data visualization services to users. On the same day, Google acquired Appetas, which helps restaurants build, maintain, promote and grow specialized Websites that serve the needs of the food industry. Google is shuttering Appetas as part of the purchase.
On May 6, Google acquired Adometry, a marketing and advertising optimization company that uses software-as-a-service (SaaS)-based advanced analytics to process and analyze tens of billions of impressions and advertising transactions per month to identify what consumers are buying.
In April 2014, Google announced that it was getting into the high-altitude drone business with its purchase of Titan Aerospace in a move that is closely linked to Google’s Project Loon efforts, which use high-altitude balloons to build a high-speed Internet network. High-altitude Internet networks have been on Google’s radar since the company launched its Project Loon experiments in 2013, according to an eWEEK report.