Google builds a 'Nest' for future of smart homes

By Michael Liedtke

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 15 2014 4:30 p.m. MST

Google also could plug its digital mapping software into Nest products so it could learn the layout of a home, said Brian Proffitt, a technology analyst who is also a management instructor at the University of Notre Dame. That knowledge could then be deployed to delegate such household chores as vacuuming to a robot that would be able to rely on the interior maps to navigate its way through an entire home without human help, Proffitt said.

A Google division run by Android creator Andy Rubin is working on various ideas for robots, though the Mountain View, Calif., company hasn't shared many details about its goals. Google's expansion into robotics is also being bolstered by a spate of acquisitions that included the recent purchase of Boston Dynamics, a U.S. military contractor that has already built a variety of contraptions that can be programmed to run at rapid speeds, leap high into the air and climb rocky terrains.

Even as it explores various technological frontiers, Google still makes most of its money from advertising tied to search requests. Acquiring and developing products with Internet connections and environmental sensors can only help Google get an even better grasp on people's interests.

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