Nest products are displayed at a Home Depot store on January 13, 2014 in San Rafael, California. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images/AFP)
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Google Inc. took its biggest step to go deeper into consumers' homes, announcing a $3.2 billion deal to buy smart thermostat and smoke alarm-maker Nest Labs Inc., scooping up a promising line of products and a prized design team led by the "godfather" of the iPod.Nest will continue to operate as its own distinct brand after the all-cash deal closes, Google said Monday.Like the Motorola deal, which marked Google's first major foray into hardware, the Nest acquisition gives Google a stepping stone into an important new market at a time when consumer appliances and Internet services are increasingly merging.
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