Google's Nest pays $555M to acquire home camera maker Dropcam

Nest, the Internet-connected thermostat and smoke detector maker owned by Google, is acquiring home security system developer Dropcam as part of a push to connect a wider range of devices in people’s homes.

Nest said Friday that it was acquiring Dropcam and that the companies would be working together to build new products that add intelligence to the devices in people’s homes. The acquisition could allow for new types of communication among the appliances in homes.

“Eventually, the plan is for us to work together to reinvent products that will help shape the future of the conscious home,” Nest said in its announcement of the deal, which has yet to close.

Nest paid US$555 million cash to acquire Dropcam, the company said in a separate statement. Google, which acquired Nest earlier this year, declined to comment further.

Dropcam, founded in 2009, makes small Wi-Fi-connected cameras designed to let people monitor what goes on in their homes when they’re not there. The company makes an app for iOS and Android devices to let people receive mobile alerts about motions and sounds in their homes.

For now, Dropcam’s products will continue to be sold online and in stores, Nest said. Existing Dropcam customers can continue to use their accounts.

Nest’s thermostats and smoke detectors are designed to learn people’s habits over time, can be controlled from afar, and are aimed at improved energy efficiency.

The acquisition is bound to raise questions over the extent to which Google could gain sensitive data about the goings-on in people’s homes. Nest said Dropcam will come under its privacy policy, which says that data won’t be shared with anyone, including Google, without the customer’s permission.

Incorporating ads into Dropcam is not part of the strategy, Nest said. Google, however, included language in a letter sent to federal regulators last year suggesting that it could eventually place ads on devices like thermostats or self-driving cars.

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