Nest Labs up­grades cam­era, talk­ing smoke de­tec­tor

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - By Michael Liedtke

SAN FRAN­CISCO — Google’s Nest Labs is re­leas­ing new ver­sions of its sur­veil­lance-video cam­era and talk­ing smoke de­tec­tor as part of its at­tempt to turn homes into yet another thing that can be con­trolled and tracked over the In­ter­net. The gad­gets un­veiled Wed­nes­day are Nest’s most sig­nif­i­cant prod­uct up­dates since Google bought the Palo Alto, Calif., com­pany last year for about $2.75 bil­lion. A few months later, Google bought sur­veil­lance-cam­era maker Drop­cam for $517 mil­lion to help Nest re­al­ize its am­bi­tion of cre­at­ing “thought­ful” homes. Like sev­eral other tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies, Google is im­plant­ing its own prod­ucts and ser­vices into homes as more ap­pli­ances and other gad­gets feed into an In­ter­net-con­nected ma­trix. Nest, which is led by for­mer Ap­ple engi­neer and iPod de­signer Tony Fadell, is play­ing a cen­tral role in Google’s ex­pan­sion into homes. Google also is build­ing an op­er­at­ing sys­tem called Brillo to en­able all the In­ter­net-con­nected home de­vices to com­mu­ni­cate with each other. Brillo will com­pete against a sim­i­lar sys­tem called HomeKit of­fered by Ap­ple. In most in­stances, a per­son’s smart­phone will serve as a re­mote for con­trol­ling all the In­ter­net-con­nected ap­pli­ances. The smart­phones can also be used to re­ceive no­ti­fi­ca­tions about what’s hap­pen­ing in the house. The con­cept of a fully au­to­mated home once seemed like a far-off vi­sion, Fadell said, but not any longer. “We have changed the con­ver­sa­tion of the con­nected home,” Fadell boasted Wed­nes­day. and bet­ter in­frared tech­nol­ogy for record­ing im­ages in the dark. It will cost $199. Nest is also team­ing up with two home in­sur­ers, Lib­erty Mu­tual and Amer­i­can Fam­ily, to of­fer a five per cent dis­count when pol­i­cy­hold­ers agree to in­stall the de­vices and al­low the in­sur­ers to re­view monthly in­for­ma­tion to show ev­ery­thing is func­tion­ing nor­mally. In some in­stances, Lib­erty Mu­tual and Amer­i­can Fam­ily will give pol­i­cy­hold­ers a free Nest smoke de­tec­tor if they sign up for the safety-re­wards pro­gram. Amer­i­can Fam­ily is only of­fer­ing the pro­gram in Min­nesota ini­tially while Lib­erty Mu­tual will ini­tially test it in Alabama, Illi­nois, Ken­tucky, Maine, Penn­syl­va­nia and Wis­con­sin.

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