Communications Update: Google’s Nest Acquisition Speaks to the Future of the Internet

January 20, 2014 – Think you have a handle on the Internet now that you have mastered Google or Bing Search, have become chronically addicted to email, can’t stop checking your Facebook Wall, or find yourself on Hangout or Skype with friends? Well think again because the Internet of Things is about to create an information explosion like nothing we have ever seen before.

I am sure you have noticed that Google Search today lets you ask questions by voice or by typing. And you can ask Google to search using very natural language queries. Well now imagine your house as being an extension of your computer with every electronic device capable of conversing with you. Imagine the WiFi and Bluetooth enabled network within your home as capable of understanding what you want when you ask. In this new world you will set when the lights go on and off, the temperature on your thermostat, the settings on your alarm system, even when to turn on the ignition to warm up your car. You’ll also through ubiquitous mobile communication make reservations at your favorite restaurant, get tickets to the latest baseball game, or order in that triple-cheese pizza you so like.

You will do all of this because the devices around you will all be capable of interpreting what you say and executing on your commands. In taking us to this very Star Trekkian world we have Google leading the charge. In their acquisition of Nest, a smart thermostat developer, we are seeing one of the movers and shakers of the Internet take that first step into the world I have described above.


Nest Thermostat


And Google is not alone. They are being joined by others like IBM, Cisco, Ericsson, Alcatel, Microsoft, and Apple, the who’s who of the world of communications and computing, developing network connectivity like we have never seen before.

Think of everything around you being integrated for accessibility and you have a vision of the end point of this technology thrust. And then add artificial intelligence to every device, giving each built-in smarts. That’s the future at our doorstep.

Will it take a decade before we are fully immersed in this Internet of Everything? If Google and others have their way, and they certainly have the money, muscle and intellectual capability to make it happen, I think a decade is about right.




Len Rosen lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He is a researcher and writer who has a fascination with science and technology. He is married with a daughter who works in radio, and a miniature red poodle who is his daily companion on walks of discovery. More...


  • Fran Rabuck

    Francis Rabuck

    Technology/Strategy Research Analyst, Visionary Communicator, Futurist

    Top Contributor

    Len, I was a bit surprised by the NEST acquisition, esp for $3.2B. NEST had 2 lawsuits from Honeywell and First Alert. Not sure of current status on these. There seemed to be many more advanced and complete systems emerging in the market (e.g. Canary). Other systems/partnerships on home energy management are more established – Comcast, Verizon, Control4, etc. The NEST was a closed system until just recently and it only had one major partner -Control4. CLosed is NOT Google-like.

    More complete systems- iike ISIS from Loews have been available and have a solid distribution channel. (NEST is sold by Home Depot).

    NEST had no real big energy partnerships – that I’m aware of. They are nothing like an Itron.

    And NEST doesn’t have a full wireless infrastructure core like Belkin, Netgear or others.

    NEST is not a platform for IoT, or even M2M.

    And last but not least – Google dropped its project on home energy – Powermap about 2 years ago.I

    All that being said, Google has had an intense effort in minimizing its energy for computing – and is probably the most efficient data center operations from an energy perspective. NEST did have some algorithms related to smart energy management – and these may have value. NEST also recently passed the 1 million install mark in homes – a small club with only about 6 other members.

    It will be interesting to watch what other pieces Google buys up – I suspect that NEST will be just a small piece of this puzzle. The buyout and price tag will also raise the profile of others in this market. And the NEST device itself may just be a Trojan horse for bigger things to come.