Google Brings Back Smart Home Unit, Nest
Google is bringing gadget maker Nest back under its control as the search giant battles rival Amazon and Apple in the rapidly expanding smart home market.
The world's largest search engine has staked its future on building Google smarts into devices beyond smartphones.
A big part of the change is it will be easier to add Google's artificial intelligence technology and Assistant -- a digital helper that competes against Amazon's Alexa and Apple's Siri -- into new Nest products.
On Wednesday, Google said Nest was part of its plans and would no longer operate as a separate division that lived in the outer orbit of parent company Alphabet's "Other Bets" group of projects.
Back in 2014, Google bought Nest — the hardware company behind things like the Nest Cam and the Nest thermostat — for around $3.2 billion. At the time, Google opted to keep Nest running as its own independent operation.
Google’s head of hardware Rick Osterloh announced this afternoon that Nest will “join forces” with Google’s hardware team.
The company said that by bringing Nest back into Google, it can "supercharge Nest's mission." Nest's current CEO, Marwan Fawaz, will now report to Google hardware chief Rick Osterloh, and the merger will mean that Google's artificial intelligence, like its smart assistant, will be better combined with Nest products.
"We've had a head start on collaborating since our teams already work closely together, and today we're excited to make Nest an integral part of Google's big bet on hardware," the company said.
This is just the latest move by Google to beef up its hardware chops by bringing more engineers under one roof. Last week, the company finalized its deal to spend $1.1 billion acquiring a large part of HTC’s hardware operation.
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