Both of Nest's current products use motion sensors, but can only monitor when somebody walks past the device itself. / Getty Images

Nest, which Google bought in January, has bought a home camera firm as the idea of connected homes gains more traction

Nest, the smart thermostat firm recently bought by Google, has bought camera start-up Dropcam for $555m, the latest in a run of moves by big companies to try and stake their claim in the connected home market.

Dropcam makes small, internet-enabled cameras that allow users to check up on their house from outside. As well as hardware, they sell cloud storage which means that customers can view 30 days of video from anywhere and receive notifications about movement in their homes.

Nest is likely to use the software to make its thermostats, which monitor and adapt to use, better at learning about users. One of Dropcam’s plans is to monitor the opening and closing of doors, the Wall Street Journal said, and the company could use that to alter central heating, for example.

The company will initially stay separate from Nest, which itself is autonomous from Google, Nest’s founder said in a blogpost announcing the deal.

“Eventually the plan is for us to work together to reinvent products that will help shape the future of the conscious home and bring our shared vision to more and more people around the world,” said Matt Rogers. “For now, though, not much will change.”

Dropcam makes wi-fi enabled cameras, as well as software to control them remotely. Source: Getty Images

Dropcam will operate under Nest’s privacy policy, which stipulates that no personal data will be shared with anyone, including with Google. That is thought to have been a key consideration in the deal, with initial rumours of the acquisition provoking worry among many that Google would have access to video of people’s homes.

Google bought Nest for $3.2 billion (£2bn) in January. It is thought to be part of an industry-wide move towards the ‘internet of things’ — web-enabled versions of home appliances and devices.

The company makes the Nest thermostat and recently released the Nest Protect, a smart smoke and carbon monoxide sensor. Both use motion sensors, but can only monitor when somebody walks past the device itself.