Google’s Overhauled Nest Cams Are Smarter and Easier to Use Without a Subscription

Google’s Overhauled Nest Cams Are Smarter and Easier to Use Without a Subscription
Image: Google

We’ve been waiting quite a while for Google to refresh its lineup of security cameras, and today’s the day.

Google’s new family of Nest cams is designed to streamline and simplify home security, the company said, so in addition to new devices, Google is also overhauling its pricing plans and incorporating improved on-device processing for increased privacy and utility.

The new Nest Cam lineup consists of four new devices: the Google Nest Doorbell ($US179 ($243)), Google Nest Cam with floodlight ($US279 ($378)), a battery-powered indoor/outdoor Google Nest Cam ($US179 ($243)), and the second-gen wired Google Nest Cam ($US99 ($134)) for indoor monitoring.

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for local Australian pricing and availability.

For those looking to keep an eye on their main entryway, the new Nest Doorbell comes with a built-in rechargeable battery that Google says should last several months between charges (depending on activity), though if you want, Google is also selling a weatherproof cable that you can use to provide wired power.

Like all the new Nest cams, the Nest Doorbell has a small indicator light so you know when it's recording.  (Image: Google) Like all the new Nest cams, the Nest Doorbell has a small indicator light so you know when it’s recording. (Image: Google)

As with all the new Nest cams, the Nest Doorbell features an upgraded TPU chip that supports more powerful on-device object recognition, allowing the Nest Doorbell to recognise nine different object classes without help from the cloud. And to make sure people know when Google’s Nest Cams are recording or streaming a live feed, they all have a built-in indicator light.

Google also says the Nest Doorbell uses an HDR-quality camera with a taller 3:4 aspect ratio that offers a wide field of view for objects or people as close as eight inches away. And with tighter integration with the Google Home app, you can easily get alerts for new activity or use your phone or other Google smart home device (like a Nest Hub) to see a live feed from the Nest Doorbell or other new Nest cams. The Nest Doorbell will even be available in several colours (snow, ivy, linen, and ash) to better match your home’s exterior.

However, if you’re looking for something more multi-functional, there’s the new battery-powered indoor/outdoor Nest Cam. Like the Nest Doorbell, it works with Google’s optional weatherproof cable for people who want a persistent power option, along with other accessories like an anti-theft mount for outdoor use, or a stand with an included 3.05 m power cable for indoor setups.

The new Nest Cam with floodlight seems to be the only new Nest cam not available in multiple colours.  (Image: Google) The new Nest Cam with floodlight seems to be the only new Nest cam not available in multiple colours. (Image: Google)

The indoor/outdoor Nest Cam features a 1080p camera with HDR and night vision capability. Like the Nest Doorbell, it comes in several colours and has an IP54 rating for dust and water resistance (not to mention a housing made from 45% recycled plastic). And for those who want a security camera that can both record footage and illuminate its surroundings, there’s the Nest Cam with a built-in floodlight.

Finally, if you’re only concerned with monitoring what goes on inside your home, there’s the second-gen Nest Cam. Because the upgraded model is designed for indoor use, it doesn’t have the same rugged credentials as its siblings, though at $US99 ($134), it is significantly cheaper and even comes with an optional wooden base.

The new indoor/outdoor Nest Cam with battery. (Image: Google) The new indoor/outdoor Nest Cam with battery. (Image: Google)

In addition to refreshing its security cams, Google is also updating its pricing options, including better support for people who don’t way to pay for a subscription. Out of the box, all of the new Nest Cams will save up to three hours of event video history and allow for the creation of specific activity zones for free. And thanks to their new chips, the Nest Cams can also recognise packages, animals, people, and vehicles without the need for a subscription.

On top of that, in case your power or wifi ever goes out (or just wifi in the case of the wired second-gen Nest Cam), each Nest Cam can record and save up to an hour of events locally (which Google says is about a week’s worth of events), before uploading that footage to the cloud when your power/wifi is restored so you can see what happened.

The wood base on the indoor Nest Cam is a nice touch for people looking for gadgets with a more natural appearance.  (Image: Google) The wood base on the indoor Nest Cam is a nice touch for people looking for gadgets with a more natural appearance. (Image: Google)

However, if you’d like additional video recording, the basic $US6 ($8)/month Nest Aware subscription adds familiar face detection, the ability to call 911 directly from the Google Home app, and 30 days of event video history. And if that’s not enough, the $US12 ($16)/month Nest Aware Plus subs comes with 60 days of event video history and the option for 10 days of continuous video recording.

So while the TPU chips inside the new Nest Cams might not be quite as powerful as what Google is cooking up for the Pixel 6, it’s clear Google is once again leaning on its expertise in AI and machine learning to improve things like on-device object recognition and increased privacy.

The new indoor/outdoor Nest Cam and the Nest Doorbell are available for preorder in some regions today, with official sales set to being on August 24. The second-gen Nest Cam and Nest Cam with floodlight will be available sometime after that.