Google’s Nest to acquire video monitoring startup Dropcam


If houses could talk, they’d likely be chattering excitedly among themselves this evening, discussing the news that Nest has signed an agreement to acquire video monitoring startup Dropcam for $555 million.

Nest, known for its smart thermostat and smoke alarm devices, is reportedly making the purchase without any input from Google, its parent company. Dropcam, which makes simple-to-use Wi-Fi video cameras aimed primarily at the home security market, will be incorporated into Nest once the deal closes.

The move takes Nest closer to its goal of becoming the main player in the market of home-based connected devices and could ultimately lead to Google involvement in the creation of a fully digitally integrated home.

‘A natural fit’

In a blog post commenting on the acquisition deal, Matt Rogers, Nest’s head of engineering, said that the plan was for Nest and Dropcam “to work together to reinvent products that will help shape the future of the conscious home and bring our shared vision to more and more people around the world.” He added that for now “not much will change” regarding how the two companies operate, though over time closer integration will occur. Rogers also assured Dropcam users that despite Nest’s association with Google, ads are not about to start appearing on video feeds, nor will any customer data be shared with the Mountain View company.

Dropcam CEO Greg Duffy said his four-year-old company has prided itself on building “simple, secure and high-quality hardware and software experiences,” adding that the two companies’ products and technologies were “a natural fit.”

Dropcam markets two versions of its Internet-connected home security camera, the $149 standard model and the $199 Pro version, which launched toward the end of last year.

Once installed, it allows the user to stream video to their mobile devices, wherever they happen to be. This essentially means you’d be able to watch your house being burglarized from the comfort of your hotel room, though the device’s two-way talk feature also means you could have a conversation with the intruders, or simply yell at them to put the goddamn TV back and get the hell out of your home.

Hopefully it’ll never come to that, but if you were to witness an unhappy event on Dropcam, you’d be able to contact cops quick, while video saved in the cloud could potentially contain valuable information for any subsequent investigation.

It’s not all about home security though, as the camera is also sold on the idea that it can be used as a baby or pet monitor, or simply as a communication device for keeping in touch if someone’s away from home.

Nest Labs

Nest was founded in 2010 by former Apple executive Tony Fadell and fellow Cupertino company co-worker Matt Rogers. A year later the pair launched their first product, a smartphone- and tablet-controlled smart thermostat, which went on to receive wide praise for its stylish design and range of useful features. The Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector followed, though recently the discovery of a flaw in the device’s software saw it temporarily removed from sale.

Google’s interest in Nest’s technology led the Web giant to acquire the Palo-Alto based company in January for $3.2 billion.

Friday’s acquisition news hasn’t come completely out of the blue, with rumors of a potential deal first surfacing at the end of last month.

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