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Nest Tried Concealing Its Eventual Dip into Digital Health

by Justin Herrick | September 23, 2018September 23, 2018 10:30 am PST

Nest made an acquisition last summer for a Seattle-based startup that went unnoticed. It purchased Senosis Health, but Google didn’t want anyone knowing about the deal. Why would that happen? Everyone knows that Nest makes products and services for home automation. Yet the deal indicates that it’ll soon expand into health and wellness.

In August 2017, Senosis Health was scooped up. But its personnel was instructed to stay quiet on the deal. Nest told its new employees to keep quiet, and the University of Washington was given a similar rule. UW, which gave birth to Senosis Health, was barred from speaking out publicly.

Senosis Health, by the way, develops health-tracking technologies that leverage a mobile device’s various components.

The deal became public this week after GeekWire obtained confidential records on some of its details. It was Nest, not the Mountain View-based parent, that pulled the trigger on this acquisition.

Between Senosis Health and UW, there was communication that Nest behaved in a highly secretive manner.

Here’s what one email said:

“It turns out Nest is much more secretive than the rest of Google or Alphabet. They seem to be particularly sensitive in this situation since they don’t want people to know they are getting into a whole new line of business, digital health, until they are ready to publicly announce.”

After the deal completed, Nest was merged with Google’s hardware division. It was previously stored under Alphabet’s ‘Other Bets’ unit. Nest continues maintaining a high level of confidentially for all parties involved, though.

The yet-to-be-announced entrance into digital health shouldn’t come as a surprise. Earlier this year, Nest expressed interest in that part of Nokia’s business. It put the digital health portion up for sale, and Withings co-founder Éric Carreel purchased the assets back to revive his old brand. Nest, meanwhile, didn’t comment on multiple reports saying it was in discussions.

It strikes everyone as strange because, as mentioned before, Nest builds for living spaces and not human bodies. Digital health fits the ‘Google’ and ‘Android’ brands because Senosis Health’s technologies are built specifically for mobile devices.

CNBC has reported that Nest will deliver health-tracking products and services for senior citizens.

Just as other media outlets have done already, TechnoBuffalo reached out to Nest. We’ll update this post if a statement comes in. Nest might not say anything, so don’t be surprised if this project goes longer without any public acknowledgment.

GeekWire

Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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