Alphabet shifts thermostat maker Nest into Google


The internet-connected devices company bought by Google for $3 billion in 2014 will be folded back into Google, the company announced today (Feb. 7). Its founder, iPod and iPhone designer Tony Fadell, left the company in 2016 after creating what was reportedly a "toxic" work environment; former employees also criticized his management style on Medium.

In contrast to Nest's 11 millions devices sold figure, this past fall Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos stated that his company has sold "tens of millions" of Alexa-enabled products. The merger of the two firms will likely pave the way for a wider array of smart home products from Alphabet. At the time, Google opted to keep Nest running as its own independent operation. The goal is to supercharge Nest's mission: to create a more thoughtful home, one that takes care of the people inside it and the world around it. Originally, Nest was supposed to be the core of Google's hardware efforts, but instead Google made a decision to create a separate division to produce its Nexus, Pixel, Chromecast, and Google Home devices.

Google acquired Nest about four years ago, but it kept the company at arm's length.

Previously, Nest operated under Alphabet's "Other Bets" group of projects. "This reorganization doesn't guarantee success given the issues with Pixel XL and Home mini and Amazon momentum, but organizes "like" resources together which could lead to more products more quickly".

The move unifies Google's growing hardware team, which designs smartphones, laptops and speakers, with Nest, which sells video doorbells, security cameras and thermostats that automatically adjust settings based on user behavior.