Google reentered the efficiency market recently by purchasing Nest, the manufacturer of advanced thermostats and other “smart” home devices. The move gives them a crucial in-home hardware component that dovetails well with their big data capabilities. Efficiency programs have long sought to tap into the behavioral aspects of home energy use through web-enabled gizmos and big data analytics. The acquisition raises the possibility of a powerful opening for utilities to finally achieve those goals. Google’s previous attempts to crack the energy management space had failed, notably their Power Meter product, which is no longer serviced. This deal shows that Google is not giving up and that it rightly recognizes the long-term importance and value of working in this space.
Nest Acquisition Revives Google’s Energy Management StrategyEnergy Priorities, January 16, 2014
Google announced that it is purchasing Nest Labs, which makes Internet-connected thermostats and a smoke alarm. Twitter lit up with remarks, mostly forecasting one of three outcomes: the death of Nest, the rise of the connected home, or Google’s world domination by way of placing advertising absolutely everywhere.
Energy utilities are falling in love with Big Data but thus far they’ve resisted falling in love with Google, for whom big data is a core capability. Google has wanted into the utility market for years, a strategy marked most notably by the failed introduction of Google PowerMeter.