After buying Nest Labs for $3.2 billion in January, it was only a matter of time before Google introduced broader integration with the popular smart thermostat. Nearly a year later, that has come to fruition. Nest owners will be able to monitor and control thermostats in the Chrome browser or by using Google's app on Android and iOS devices.
Most notably, that includes "OK, Google"-powered voice controls. After authorizing Google to access your Nest, you'll be able to tell it to change the temperature from your smartphone, tablet or computer. You'll also be shown Google Now cards which will tell you when the thermostat is making an adjustment.
Nest isn't the first thermostat to integrate voice controls -- Honeywell released a model you could adjust with voice commands last year. The commands were a bit basic -- you could only adjust it up or down, and not to a specific temperature. Additionally, with the microphone embedded in the thermostat itself, you needed to be in the same room to access it, making you wonder if you should just walk over and turn it up or down instead.
Comprehensive voice control seems like the next big step for the smart home, with smaller players such as the Ubi and Ivee Sleek already in the game, along with Insteon controls for Cortana on Windows devices. Apple seems poised to flip the switch on HomeKit and hand the keys to the smart home over to Siri, which is expected to roll out next month.
At this point, Google can claim first dibs. Then, there are key Nest partners which may follow suit, along with Dropcam, which Nest Labs purchased for $555 million in June. Time will tell.