Last December, Google Now users may have noticed that they could almost control Nest thermostats voice commands. The feature was initially bug-laden but seems to be working pretty well now for many users. The company might be looking to amp up its product’s capabilities even further, as it’s looking for a Head of Audio.
According to the job listing, the new hire would develop “ an audio roadmap” for Nest’s hardware and software “that can support delightful user experiences and innovative features.” This could just mean Nest wants to start making speakers, but considering its credo is reinventing “unloved” products into “simple, beautiful, thoughtful things,” the end result of this position will likely be more ambitious than that. If there’s one thing we’ve learned from Nest, it’s that a thermostat isn’t just a thermostat, a smoke detector doesn’t have to just be a smoke detector.
Considering some recently filed patents, Nest wants to be even more ubiquitous in your smart home, too. It has designs on making smart doorknobs that lock when a neighbor’s house is broken into and an alarm clock that wakes you up earlier when traffic is particularly gnarly. One place we could see the new hire coming in handy is the smart doorbell, which asks people questions and allows users to identify themselves with their voices. Given these aspirations, it’s unlikely the Head of Audio will just be making the sound better when Nest Protect starts to go haywire. Maybe Nest will insert a speaker into an existing product or take a cue from Amazon’s Echo, which is a voice-activated speaker that can tell you fun facts.
With the Google Now-Nest integration up and running, it isn’t hard to imagine some new technology that bypasses the smartphone completely, allowing users to fire up the coffee maker with just a few vocal commands.