A firm that makes in-home cameras allowing users to check their homes by smartphone from anywhere in the world is being bought by Google's Nest Labs for $555 million.
The deal for Dropcam will be in cash, Nest said in a statement, adding that the deal will broaden Nest's product lineup into home security. Nest already sells digital thermostats and smoke alarms that can also be checked and adjusted remotely from mobile gadgets.
Matt Rogers, co-founder of Nest, based in Palo Alto, said in an interview, "We care very deeply about helping people stay connected to their home, especially when they're not in their home.
"This is another offering that helps people get insights into their home."
Google bought Nest for about $3.2 billion earlier this year, to become a bigger player of connected devices for consumers.
The trend is part of a technology movement dubbed the "Internet of things," said the San Jose Mercury News. More and more gadgets and everyday items are connected to the Web and can deliver data and be controlled by mobile devices.
The products gather data on consumer habits and usage. Privacy experts have asked how Google, the world's largest search engine, will use Nest's data. Nest has said its information will remain separate from its parent company.
Dropcam's data will also remain distinct from Google, Rogers said.
Google has made a lot of purchases this year, “looking beyond its own engineers for new capabilities”, said the Mercury News. Google had five purchases in May and has announced at least three more in June. One was a $500 million deal for Skybox Imaging Inc., which designs satellites that can help Google's efforts around mapping and Internet access.
San Francisco-based Dropcam, founded in 2009, lets users place cameras throughout a home for live-viewing and recording. There are options for night vision and two-way talking with built-in microphones.