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(Pocket-lint) - Google has announced on Monday that it is acquiring the makers of the Nest thermostat for $3.2 billion. Nest has been at the forefront of home automation since it launched to rave reviews in 2011, enabling users save money on heating and cooling thanks to its ability to learn patterns.

Nest will continue to operate under the leadership of Tony Fadell, who once worked at Apple, while retaining its distinct brand identity under Google. Essentially, Google is saying Nest will continue operating as it is, and it won't interfere. Nest says it will remain in retails stores. 

“Nest’s founders, Tony Fadell and Matt Rogers, have built a tremendous team that we are excited to welcome into the Google family," Larry Page, CEO of Google, said. "They’re already delivering amazing products you can buy right now - thermostats that save energy and smoke/CO alarms that can help keep your family safe. We are excited to bring great experiences to more homes in more countries and fulfill their dreams!”

In late 2013, Nest Labs expanded beyond the thermostat with the launch of its Nest Protect smoke and carbon alarm that connects to smartphones through an app. Nest said on its blog that customer data from both the smoke detector and thermostat would not be shared with Google. 

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“We’re thrilled to join Google," Tony Fadell, CEO of Nest, said. "With their support, Nest will be even better placed to build simple, thoughtful devices that make life easier at home, and that have a positive impact on the world.”

The acquisition of Nest follows Google's reported testing behind closed doors of its own "EnergySense" thermostat that enables users to keep track of their energy use. If Nest is the future of the EnergySense project, or the long rumoured Android in the home project, is unclear. 

"Nest’s product line obviously caught the attention of Google and I’m betting that there’s a lot of cool stuff we could do together, but nothing to share today," Matt Rogers, VP of engineering, wrote on Nest's blog.

The deal is expected to close in the next few months, after it's reviewed by US regulatory boards.

Writing by Jake Smith. Originally published on 13 January 2014.