Thermostats and smoke detectors

google hardware nest

Google already knows pretty much everything you do on the Internet. With its $3.2 billion purchase earlier this year of "smart appliance" maker Nest Labs, Google is taking its data-gathering capabilities into the home.

Nest makes home devices like thermostats and smoke detectors that can program themselves and communicate with smartphones. The acquisition followed a series of efforts by Google to break into the connected home business, none of which have proven particularly successful. The company's Android@Home platform, designed to allow users to control home appliances via Android smartphones and tablets, never caught on. There was also the Nexus Q streaming media device, which the company put on hold back in 2012.

First published May 14, 2014: 1:26 PM ET

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