Nest Labs

Nest Labs
Industry Home automation
Headquarters Palo Alto, California, United States
Area served
United States
Products Learning Thermostat
Protect (Smoke/CO Alarm)
Nest Cam (Camera)
Nest App
Number of employees
460 (2014)[1]
Parent Present: Google Inc.
Proposed: Alphabet Inc.[2]

Nest Labs is a home automation producer of programmable, self-learning, sensor-driven, Wi-Fi-enabled thermostats, smoke detectors, and other security systems. It introduced the Nest Learning Thermostat in 2011 as its first product. The Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector was then introduced in October 2013.[3] And, after acquiring Dropcam, the rebranded Nest Cam was introduced in June 2015.[4]

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.[5] Google acquired Nest Labs for US$3.2 billion in January 2014 which had 460 employees in mid-2014 and continued its brand identity.[1][6[7]


Nest Labs was founded in 2010 by former Apple engineers Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers.[8] 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.[1]

Early investors in Nest Labs included Shasta Ventures and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.[9][10][11][12] 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.[13]

In June 2014, it was announced that Nest would buy camera startup Dropcam for $555 million.[14] With the purchase, Dropcam is tightly integrated with other Nest products; if the Protect alarm is triggered the Dropcam can automatically start recording, and the Thermostat can use Dropcam to sense for motion.[15]

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.[16]

In June 2015, the new Nest Cam, replacing the Dropcam, was announced, together with the second generation of the Nest Protect.[17]

In August 2015, Google announced plans to split Nest Labs from Google Inc. and for both to become subsidiaries of Alphabet Inc. in a corporate restructuring.[18]


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.[19]


Version Released Wi-Fi ZigBee 24 V 120–
240 V
1 - 2
1 - 3
Radiant Heat
Oil Gas Electric Hybrid
Nest Base No Serial.png Diamond[20] 1.10 Q4
Yes Yes Yes No Yes Single
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
Nest Base of hardware revision 1.12.jpg Diamond 1.12 Q1
Yes Yes Yes No Yes Single
Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No
  Diamond 1.13 Q?
Yes Yes Yes No Yes ? ? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes ? ?
Nest Base of version 2.jpg Display 2.6 Q3
Yes Yes Yes No Yes Both All Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Nest Base of version 2.jpg Display 2.8 Q3
Yes Yes Yes No Yes Both All Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

SKUs / Model numbers

  • T100577 is 1st Generation, released only in the US
  • T200377 is 2nd Generation, UK release
  • T200477 is 2nd Generation, Canada release
  • T200577 is 2nd Generation, US release
  • T200677 is 2nd Generation, France, Netherlands, and Belgium release

T200477 and T200577 are technically the same [21]
T200377 and T200677 are technically the same, except for the power plug used for the USB charger [22]


The Nest Thermostat's front screen

Nest Learning Thermostat showing weather's impact on energy usage

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.[23]

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.[24]

A special version of Nest is available in Europe, which is capable of controlling 120–240 V heating systems. The Nest is paired with a "Heat Link" device, which contains the circuitry required for controlling the mains-voltage heating system.[25]


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 3.7 V charge to give enough power to complete the download and installation of the update.[26]

The Nest Thermostat has had a number of software updates.[27]

The operating system itself is based on Linux 2.6.37 and many other free software components.[28] 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 devices interconnect with each other using a protocol called Weave, which is based on IEEE 802.15.4 and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n.[29]


Nest is currently available for sale in the United States, Canada[30] the United Kingdom.,[31] Belgium, France, Ireland and the Netherlands, It is, however, compatible with many heating and cooling automation systems in other countries.[32] 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.[33]

Recently a man-in-the-middle hack allows worldwide users to set up their timezone and local weather.[34]

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 a 5-year electricity contract.[35] 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.[36] In June 2014, Direct Energy and Nest Laboratories expanded the package to Direct Energy's United States market.[37]

Nest Protect

Nest Protect

In October 2013, Nest announced its second product, the Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide detector. The Nest Protect is available in both black and white (the black is exclusively sold through Nest directly[38]) and also comes 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, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Ireland and the Netherlands.

On April 3, 2014, sales of the Nest Protect were suspended, due to the potential for the alarm feature to be accidentally disabled.[39] [40][41] 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.[42][43]

On June 17, 2015 Nest launched a new version of the Nest Protect. It is the first smoke alarm to bring a commercial–grade photoelectric sensor to the home; called the Split-Spectrum Sensor – it uses two wavelengths of light to spot different kinds of smoke, which helps it catch both fast and slow-burning fires quickly. Additionally, due to the long-lasting carbon monoxide sensor, the Nest Protect lasts ten years. The new Nest Protect also has a feature called App Silence which lets you silence it using your smart device. Also, when you are not home, the smoke detector will test itself using a built in microphone. Safety Rewards allows Nest Protect users that have their insurance through American Family and Liberty Mutual to get savings off their bill.

Works with Nest

Works with Nest is a program that allows third party devices to communicate with Nest products.

Compatible Products


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.[73]

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.[74]

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.[75] 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.[76][77]

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".[77][78][79] 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.[80]

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.[81] 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,[81] and that the site wouldn't likely be confused after the ample press coverage received.[82]

See also


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External links

Media related to Nest Labs at Wikimedia Commons