Google's Nest Broadens Smart Home Footprint via Product Integration

Nest Labs' smart thermostats and smoke detectors can now interact with home automation products from more than a dozen vendors.

smart homes

Google's ambitions of becoming a key player in the home automation market appear to be taking shape with products from its subsidiary Nest Labs now able to interact with smart home products from more than a dozen vendors.

Nest on Jan. 5 released a list of 16 vendors whose home automation products are now capable of interacting directly with Nest's line of smart thermostats and smoke detectors, or will soon be able to do so.

Products that already work with Nest's technologies include a smart lock from August, a car adaptor from Automatic, a smart fridge and oven from LG and intelligent lights from Philips. Products that will soon be able to interact with Nest in a similar manner include a smart fan from Big Ass Fans, washers and dryers from Whirlpool and a home electric vehicle charging station from Chargepoint.

The company will show off the new integrations at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this week.

The integrations build on Google's ambition to eventually position Nest's technologies as smart hubs capable of interacting with intelligent home lighting and heating systems, smart home appliances, wearable devices like fitness bands and even cars.

For example, users of August Smart Lock will be now able to automatically set their Nest thermostat to "Away" mode when they lock their door on their way out and to "Home" mode on unlocking the door. Similarly, Automatic's intelligent car adaptors can signal the Nest thermostat to start warming or cooling a home before the driver arrives there. And when Nest's intelligent smoke detector senses a problem, it can cause smart lights from Philips to flash on and off because of the integration between the two technologies.

"Things that magically happen around your house aren't just sci-fi anymore," Nest founder Matt Rogers wrote in a blog post Jan. 5. "They are real-life Works with Nest connections." Rogers said referring to the program Nest has put in place to enable such third-party integrations.

Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion last January. Since then, the two companies have been working on building hooks into Nest's technologies that allow its thermostats and smoke detectors to communicate with, and some day control, smart home products from other vendors.

Google's goal is to help enable a fully connected home where home automation appliances and devices from multiple vendors seamlessly communicate with each other via Nest's products.

Apple is hoping to do more or less the same thing with HomeKit, a technology that lets iOS users remotely control a wide variety of smart home products, including intelligent thermostats, security systems and lighting systems, using Siri.

Last June, Nest opened up its API to third-party developers to enable what the company described as meaningful interactions between Nest's products and those from other vendors. More than 5,000 developers, including those from companies like Mercedes-Benz, Whirlpool, Chamberlain and Logitech, are currently working with Google on integration with Nest.

About one in 10 Nest customers currently take advantage of Works with Nest Connection to interact with products from other vendors, a Nest spokeswoman said Jan. 5 in emailed comments. "Works with Nest connections don't require any hardware changes, so integrations can be built in very little time," she said.

"By opening up the Nest API, we're making it possible for Nest devices to interact with the things people use every day, both inside and outside of their homes," the spokeswoman wrote. "The goal is to create a more thoughtful home, one that can take care of you, versus you having to take care of it."

Jaikumar Vijayan

Jaikumar Vijayan

Vijayan is an award-winning independent journalist and tech content creation specialist covering data security and privacy, business intelligence, big data and data analytics.