Nest adds family accounts to make its smart thermostat more convenient (and smarter)

Nest has announced two new features designed to make its smart thermostat smarter and more convenient for families.

The company, which was acquired by Google for $3.2 billion two years, has introduced ‘Family Accounts’ which enable multiple users to access and control the same Nest products. That means mom, dad and kids are able to access the products without sharing accounts and passwords. Beyond controlling the same products, family account users can also view live streams, get notifications and even their own monthly report.

The second feature coming today is ‘Home/Away Assist,’ which Nest said improves its products’ ability to recognize if someone is home, and therefore switch on/off or lower the thermostat.

That sharper intelligence is powered by a combination of data from activity sensors, machine learning and family accounts. For example, if none of the users registered for an account are home, then a Nest product will switch itself off or power down accordingly. But, likewise, they can increase the ability of Nest products to detect when someone is home. Right now, activity sensors may not be able to see a family member if they are not obviously visible in a room, but now Nest can tell that a person is there because their account is within the house and its geo-fence.

Nest said these new features — and improved intelligence — are open to developers, too.