Nest acquires video firm Dropcam to learn more about users


Google-owned Nest has bought video monitoring and security company Dropcam for $555 million (326 million) to help develop its products and learn more about its customers.

Nest has launched a number of home automation products in the last year, including a gesture-operated smoke alarm and a thermostat that learns your routine and adjusts the heating accordingly.

The smoke alarm was withdrawn from sale earlier in the year after it became apparent it could be disabled permanently with some gestures, meaning it wouldn't be activated should there be a fire. However, it's now set to come back onto the market with an improved interface that doesn't allow it to be deactivated so easily.

It's thought this new acquisition will enable Nest to start offering home security products, using Dropcam's technology so people can monitor their home from their smartphones.

Nest's co-founder and head of engineering Matt Rogers said in a blog post: "Our companies actually have a lot in common," Rogers continued. "[the Dropcam] team has managed to create products that change how people interact with their homes."

"Eventually, the plan is for us 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."

However, Rogers said nothing would change at either company for some time, although Dropcam will be involved in customer support and customer privacy from day one.

Rogers said: "Like Nest customer data, Dropcam will come under Nest's privacy policy, which explains that data won't be shared with anyone (including Google) without a customer's permission."

Nest said it considered a number of camera companies and technologies as it wanted to be sure it partnered with the right provider who could offer the services it needed to grow the company.

Google purchased Nest in January for $3.2 billion (1.88 billion).

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.