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GOOGLE took its biggest step to go deeper into consumers' homes, announcing a $3.2bn (€2.34bn) deal to buy smart thermostat and smoke alarm-maker Nest Labs, 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 has said. The deal is the second-biggest in Google's history after the $12.5bn (€9.14bn) acquisition of mobile phone maker Motorola in 2012.