Google's Nest Labs Opens Its APIs to Innovations From Other Firms

The move comes just a day after Nest acquired home video monitoring vendor Dropcam for $555 million.

Google smart home

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.