If you had any doubts that Google was serious about home automation (not that there was much room for doubt after the company bought Nest Lab, maker of the Nest Learning Thermostat) then the news out of Mountain View today should convince you. Google is buying Dropcam, the maker of high quality streaming video cameras. Your home is about to get a lot smarter.

Who or What is Dropcam?

Dropcam is known mainly for its expertise in making high quality wireless video cameras (like the Dropcam Pro). Like Nest, its products have a reputation for simple operation, elegant design, connectivity and rethinking the way we’ve done things in the past. According to the company, you can set up one of its cameras in just 60 seconds using either computer, tablet or smartphone. Matt Paligaru reviewed a Dropcam a few months ago and you can read about his experience here.

Analysts have said in the past that: “Dropcam can do for surveillance cameras what Nest did for the thermostat,” so I’m not the only one who sees the similarity in business models.

Slick, aluminum bodied cameras with high quality optics, microphones and secure Wi-Fi streaming to the cloud are Dropcam’s signature products, but in the summer it’s scheduled to expand its home security offerings. Dropcam tabs are tiny, inexpensive, wireless motion sensors you attach to doors, windows or valuables. Someone opens a door or moves a monitored object and you receive a notification.

Nest + Dropcam = Google’s Home Invasion

Google first started showing it was interested in being a part of your home with the announcement of Android@Home back in 2011. That initiative faded away, but Google came roaring back in big way with the Chromecast, an incredibly affordable and compact video streamer. The company was in living rooms in a big way.

Then Google kicked off 2014 by paying $3.2 billion to buy Nest Labs, maker of the groundbreaking Nest Learning Thermostat and the new Nest Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm (which is back in stores, by the way). 

Dropcam is another piece of the puzzle.

Google is now in your living room, providing protection from fire and CO, saving money while optimizing your home’s temperature and providing surveillance and monitoring capability. Put together, this combination of technology gives you the ability to match many of the services home security companies now offer, without monitoring fees and with the ability to easily add more components as your needs change —without professional installation.  

The data that all of these connected devices collect isn’t just for display either, as the Nest Learning Thermostat shows, it can be crunched with results that are used to make your home more comfortable, less expensive to heat (and cool) and more secure.

Google’s acquisitions mean your home is getting smarter and your Android smartphone (or tablet) will become command central.

Interested in more home automation, security and protection technology? Best Buy has hundreds of the best-known products from leading companies including Nest, Weiser, D-Link, Swann, Belkin and —of course— Dropcam.

Brad Moon
Editor Computing solutions
I’m a long-time electronics and gadget geek who’s been fortunate enough to enjoy a career that lets me indulge this interest. I have been writing about technology for several decades for a wide range of outlets including Wired, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, MSN, About.com, Kiplinger, and GeekDad. I’m in my 10th year as a senior contributor for Forbes with a focus on reviewing music-related tech, Apple gear, battery power stations and other consumer electronics. My day job is with the Malware Research Center at AI-native cybersecurity pioneer CrowdStrike.