Google and Nest have big plans for their partnership, the Wall Street Journal reports. The two companies plan to team up to offer a development platform around the Nest learning thermostat and Nest Protect smoke/CO detector in what appears to be the next step in Google’s connected home efforts following the Mountain View company’s $555 million acquisition of Dropcam a few days ago.
The system as it is currently said to exist allows users to issue voice commands to a smartphone to change settings on the Nest lineup or change a house’s temperature based on the owner’s proximity (so the air comes on when you’re almost home). However, the “Works with Nest” program will soon be expanded to support third-party remotes and appliances.
The plan takes Nest far beyond a simple device manufacturer, creating a foundation that could soon rival Apple’s upcoming HomeKit—even beating Apple to the punch in some cases. The Nest thermostat, however, will serve as the nerve center for the entire setup, monitoring input from various sources and adjusting appliance behavior as needed.
In one example noted by the Journal, Whirlpool’s new line of washers and dryers could be set to automatically switch to a configuration that helps keep clothes from wrinkling if the Nest detects that the user has left home while the laundry is running.
Of course, in order to accomplish all of this, Google and Nest will need to pass users’ data back and forth. Nest co-founder Tony Fadell has previously denied that any such plans were in place, though it could be argued that his vague phrasing left this door open.
A second article from the WSJ goes into more detail as to what this data sharing arrangement means. Nest’s Matt Rogers claxified that users will have to opt-in to share data between the two companies. Fadell reiterated today on Twitter that Nest is still a separate company with its own leadership structure, and Rogers says that the sharing between the two companies will be just “any other third party.”