You can now read 10 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

The Boston Globe

Business

Google buying Nest for $3.2 billion

The Nest smoke and carbon monoxide detector costs $129. A wave of an arm will cancel a false alarm.

Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press/File 2013

The Nest smoke and carbon monoxide detector costs $129. A wave of an arm will cancel a false alarm.

NEW YORK — Google Inc. will pay $3.2 billion to buy Nest Labs, which develops high-tech versions of devices like thermostats and smoke detectors, in its second most expensive acquisition ever.

The search engine operator was an early investor in Nest Labs. It says the company’s Nest Learning Thermostat has been a ‘‘consistent best-seller.’’

Continue reading below

The thermostat, which retails for $249, is designed to learn how inhabitants like their homes to be heated and cooled. Once it learns the consumers’ preferences, it automatically adjusts the temperature.

The Nest Protect alarm is intended to be less annoying than traditional alarms: When it detects smoke or carbon monoxide, it lights up yellow and speaks with a human voice, giving consumers an option to turn the device off if there is no emergency.

Analyst Shyam Patil of Wedbush Securities said Google is positioning itself to offer products that work on the ‘‘Internet of Things’’ — specifically a ‘‘connected home’’ full of intelligent wireless devices that collect data and could be controlled with a smartphone.

Last year, Google introduced Chromecast, a device that lets users connect their TVs and mobile devices.

You have reached the limit of 10 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week