Larry Page, Google co-founder and chief executive officer since re-claiming the post in 2011, took his company in new directions in 2014, as Google set out to dominate the burgeoning home-automation movement behind the acquisitions of Nest Labs and Dropcam.
In the process, Page handed off day-to-day responsibilities for the bulk of Google’s product portfolio to Sundar Pichai, who handled Android, Chrome and apps and now also directs the teams handling search, maps, infrastructure, Google+, ads and commerce, research and infrastructure.
Page will continue to oversee Google’s business segment, various corporate functions including acquisitions and keeps responsibility for YouTube, Google’s access and energy division including high-speed Internet service Google Fiber, Google X and Nest.
Last February, Google purchased learning thermostat resource Nest Labs for $3.2 billion, after holding a 12 percent stake in the company. Google revealed that it would acquire the maker in a bid to stake a sizeable claim to smart-home market by enhancing and expanding the Nest suite of products and services, which at the time also included intelligent smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Google’s Nest wasted little time and in June revealed that it had acquired upstart Dropcam, a manufacturer of networkable Wi-Fi security cameras and trackers, for $555 million. Clearly, Google has strong ambitions to reinvent the smart home in its image.
Thus far, Page and Google have allowed Nest Labs to operate as its own brand, while helping to build the Nest concept with extensive advertising and promotion. Dropcam was a logical fit. The company’s cameras feature an appealing form and practical function while being easy to set up, configure and link to Cloud-based storage, so that users can easily monitor and store images from almost anywhere they can get a smartphone connection – another area Google knows something about.