|Headquarters||Palo Alto, California, United States|
|Area served||United States
|Products||Thermostats, Smoke/CO alarms|
Nest Labs is a home automation company headquartered in Palo Alto, California, that designs and manufactures sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled, self-learning, programmable thermostats and smoke detectors. Co-founded by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers in 2010, the start-up company quickly grew to have more than 130 employees by the end of 2012.
Nest Labs was founded in 2010 by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers. The idea came when Fadell took a couple of years off and built a vacation home. He was unimpressed with all of the available thermostats and decided to design a new, better one, around which Nest Labs was built.
Early investors in Nest Labs included Shasta Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. On January 13, 2014, Google announced plans to acquire Nest Labs for $3.2 billion in cash. Google completed the acquisition the next day, on January 14, 2014.
In June 2014, it was announced that Nest would buy camera startup Dropcam for $555 million. With the purchase, Dropcam is tightly integrated with other Nest products; if the Protect alarm goes off the Dropcam can automatically start recording, and the Thermostat can use Dropcam to sense for motion.
In September 2014, the Nest Thermostat and Nest Protect became available in Belgium, France, Ireland and the Netherlands. Initially they are sold in approximately 400 retail stores across Europe with another 150 stores to be added by the end of the year.
|This section requires expansion. (October 2013)|
Nest Learning Thermostat
The Nest Learning Thermostat is an electronic, programmable, and self-learning Wi-Fi-enabled thermostat that optimizes heating and cooling of homes and businesses to conserve energy.
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Nest is compatible with most standard HVAC systems that use central heating and cooling and uses industry standard connections to facilitate the control of these appliances. Systems that use 120–240V current are not compatible with Nest and without new hardware, will not be able to support this voltage.
Nest consists of two primary pieces of hardware. The display contains the main printed circuit board (PCB) and rotating ring, and the base (pictured) houses the connection terminals, bubble level, and holes for wall anchors. Neither can function independently; if separated, the display becomes inactive until reconnected to the base.
The Nest Thermostat is built around an operating system that allows interaction with the thermostat via spinning and clicking of its control wheel, which brings up option menus for switching from heating to cooling, access to device settings, energy history, and scheduling. Users can control Nest without a touch screen or other input device. As the thermostat is connected to the Internet, the company can push updates to fix bugs, improve performance and add additional features. For updates to occur automatically, the thermostat must be connected to Wi‑Fi and the battery must have at least a 3.7V charge to give enough power to complete the download and installation of the update.
The Nest Thermostat has had a number of software updates.
The operating system itself is based on Linux 2.6.37 and many other free software components. To comply with the terms of the GPLv3 license under which some components are available, Nest Labs also provides a special firmware image which will unlock the system so that it will accept unsigned firmware images. While the thermostat software by Nest Labs itself remains proprietary, a third party has reimplemented the basic logic in an open source replacement called FreeAbode.
Nest is only currently available for sale in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. It is, however, compatible with many heating and cooling automation systems in other countries. Nest Labs have surveyed existing users known to be outside the areas where it is officially available. Use of the thermostat outside the United States and Canada is complicated by the software setting time and other functions based on the ZIP code. For international users this means they must either disable Wi‑Fi to set the time correctly or use the nearest U.S. zipcode which may result in erratic behavior as the thermostat makes faulty assumptions about inactivity corresponding with either sleep or the home's occupants being away.
Recently a man-in-the-middle hack allows worldwide users to set up their timezone and local weather.
In an effort to increase the number of homes using their learning thermostats, Nest began to partner with energy companies. In February 2014, Direct Energy and Nest laboratories launched their Comfort and Control plan. The plan allowed Canadian customers in Alberta to receive a learning thermostat when they signed up for an 5 year electricity contract. In April 2014, Nest announced a partnership with the United Kingdom energy supplier nPower. The partnership offers customers a cut on the Nest installation price and locked energy prices for 5 years, when customers receive both gas and electricity from nPower and paying with direct debit. In June 2014, Direct Energy and Nest Laboratories expanded the package to Direct Energy's United States market.
In October 2013, Nest announced its second product, the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector. The Nest Protect is only available in white (black Nest Protects stopped being made on and after the 3rd April 2014) and is available in battery or AC-powered models. The Nest Protect features a multicolored light ring which is color-coded to indicate different operations, such as yellow to indicate an early warning or red if an alarm is sounding. The ring also has a motion detector which turns it white briefly when someone passes under to provide illumination. The Nest Protect is voice-activated and warns of an alarm sounding briefly before it does. It is also able to communicate with the Nest Thermostat to provide the Auto-Away feature information that someone is present in the house, as well as to shut off the furnace in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide. The Nest Protect also features a controversial Wave Silence feature to stop an alarm from sounding with a wave in the event of a potential false alarm. It is available for sale in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
On April 3, 2014, sales of the Nest Protect were suspended, due to the potential for the alarm feature to be accidentally disabled.  440,000 existing Nest Protect units were recalled because of this problem on May 21, 2014 and a software update was distributed to disable this functionality.
In February 2012 Honeywell filed a lawsuit claiming that some of its patents had been infringed by Nest; Nest has said that it will fight the lawsuit.
On April 12, 2012, Nest publicly announced they will see Honeywell all the way to court as they believe that none of the seven allegedly infringed patents were actually violated. Honeywell is claiming that Nest has infringed on patents pertaining to remotely controlling a thermostat, power-stealing thermostats, and thermostats designed around a circular, interactive design, similar to the popular Honeywell T87. However, Honeywell held patents that were almost identical to those that expired in 2004. Nest has taken the stance that they will see this through to a patent court as they suspect Honeywell is trying to harass them litigiously and financially out of business.
On May 14, 2013, Allure Energy, Inc. ("Allure") was issued a patent by the USPTO titled "Auto-Adaptable Energy Management Apparatus." The very same day, Allure filed a lawsuit against Nest and two other defendants in the Eastern District of Texas alleging Nest was infringing their newly issued patent; the lawsuit is ongoing.
On September 11, 2013, Nest announced that it entered into a patent license agreement with Intellectual Ventures. Additionally, Nest announced that it was acquiring several of Intellectual Venture's patents that will help Nest to better defend their products from patent infringement claims. It is unclear how many patents Nest licensed and purchased from Intellectual Ventures.
On November 4, 2013, BRK Brands, Inc. ("BRK"), maker of the First Alert brand of smoke detectors, filed a lawsuit against Nest in the Illinois Northern District Court alleging Nest's newly released Nest Protect product infringes claims from six of its patents.
Parody after Google acquisition
In 7 May 2014, German activist group Peng! Collective released a parody website named Google Nest, satirizing Google’s privacy policies and practices with fake products imitating Google art style, supposedly created as a result "of an intensive period of studying user behavior" in response to the "public debate around privacy and government surveillance". The site described four purported new services lampooning Google’s data gathering tendencies made possible with Nest's technology: Google Trust, Google Hug, Google Bee and Google Bye, respectively a "data insurance" paid with personal data, a location service encouraging in-person emotional interactions, a "personal drone", and a memorial website created from automatically collected information.
The next day, Google trademark lawyers issued a cease-and-desist letter to Peng, asking them to change the site and to transfer the domain name to Google. The site replaced its content with a note explaining the situation, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation responded on behalf of Peng with a public letter saying that noncommercial political commentary is not prohibited under trademark law, and that the site wouldn't likely be confused after the ample press coverage received.
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- Nest Halts Sales of Smart Fire Alarm After Discovering Dangerous Flaw - Slashdot
- Google's Nest Stops Selling Its Smart Smoke Alarm For Now Due To Faulty Feature
- Google-owned Nest halts sales of its Protect smoke alarm
- "Nest Labs Recalls to Repair Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarms Due to Failure to Sound Alert". CPSC.gov. 2014-05-21. Retrieved 2014-07-22.
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Media related to Nest Labs at Wikimedia Commons