Alphabet's Nest introduces new home security devices as CEO promises big increase in sales

  • Nest, the maker of internet-linked thermostats, is entering the market for home security systems
  • New products include a smart doorbell called Hello, and a set of motion detectors and cameras called Secure.
  • Google acquired the company for $3.2 billion three-and-a-half years ago

Alphabet's Nest unit, which makes internet-linked home devices, is entering the security-hardware market as it tries to expand beyond its smart-thermostat business.

At an event in San Francisco on Wednesday, the company unveiled a variety of products for home security, including a smart doorbell with camera and facial recognition and a home security system consisting of motion-detecting sensors and cameras. The company says it's focused on ease of use.

At the event, Nest CEO Marwan Fawaz forecast that the company will ship more products this year than in last two years combined. "Security is an industry desperate for innovation," Fawaz said. Wired also reported that an unnamed Nest executive said the division would be on a $1 billion "run rate" by the end of this year -- meaning it would be on track to book $1 billion in revenue over a 12-month period -- but Nest declined to comment on that figure.

The first product introduced was a "smart" doorbell called Hello that will include a camera and facial recognition to identify visitors. It will ship next year, and Nest did not announce pricing.

The company also introduced a home security system called Secure, which combines motion detectors, a set of cameras, and a passcode-input device called the Nest Guard. Users can unlock the system by swiping a fob called the Tag over the Guard device.

The motion detector, known as Detect, is able to detect all sorts of motions at both short and long ranges. For instance, if it's placed on a window, it can detect when the window is opened, while if it's in a room it can tell if somebody's moving through that room. Nest claims this sets it apart from other products on the market.

A Nest executive introduces the Nest Guard, part of the Alphabet subsidiary's new line of home security products.
A Nest executive introduces the Nest Guard, part of the Alphabet subsidiary's new line of home security products.

The company also announced that its intelligent personal assistant, the Google Assistant, is coming to the indoor camera. That brings Alphabet into more direct competition with the Amazon Echo class of devices, which include Alexa.

The company is promoting these devices as being easy to use, overcoming the traditional view of connected home devices as complicated geeks-only toys. "Tough on bad guys, easy on you," said Nest co-founder Matt Rogers.

Prices vary depending on the combination of products you buy. For instance, the outdoor camera alone is $349, while the complete Secure package with all those products costs $598.

Google acquired Nest for $3.2 billion in cash in early 2014. Nest co-founder Tony Fadell stepped down in June 2016, after the company failed to quickly refresh its product line, and the former Apple executive faced criticism over an alleged mercurial management style.

Nest named Fawaz, a cable industry veteran, to replace Fadell. This is the first major new product line for Nest since Fawaz took over, although the company did release a less expensive version of its smart thermostat earlier this year.