Today Google launched yet another moonshot, buying connected device maker Nest for $3.2 billion.
It’s a big move just days after CES, where Nest was one of the most sought after companies in the white hot smart home sector.
So why is Google making this move now? In short, I think Google wants to be your ‘home OS’.
What do I mean by that? Basically, Google wants to essentially own the user interface, the data and the services that help you run your home.
With Nest, they get a company with a strong brand that consumers clearly want, and they also get a company that, in my view (and according to people I’ve talked to) has a larger plan to push deeper into managed home services such as security and monitoring, services that account for billions of dollars annually.
But perhaps most importantly, they finally have a beachhead into a segment of our lives they’ve failed to penetrate without Nest, the home systems space. And it’s not like they haven’t tried, launching Android @ Home at Google I/O conference in 2011. And while the whispers about the effort have continued, the company’s made little external progress.
Now with Nest, they have a beachhead comprised of both the physical smart home hub and the backend service and management cloud for smart home services. And while Nest doesn’t run on Android, it will be fairly simple for Google to integrate the Nest devices and services engine into a broader Google home “OS” effort that ties together all your home services, connects it to your Google accounts, and even pushes the associated data to a home “dashboard” onto a Google powered TV, phone or wearable, all the while allowing you to control any number of home systems through different Google human interfaces be it voice, search or motion.
In short, they now have a pivotal building block for the Google ’home OS’.
This post was first published in Forbes.