What is Nest Cam? All you need to know
Nest is fairly well-known as Alphabet Inc’s Google smart home arm, but the intricacies and history of its devices may still be elusive to some. The company’s Nest-branded cameras aren’t immune to this either. So this guide was written as a sort of primer specifically on what the Nest Cam is, current models, and answers to some common questions about the devices.
If any or all of this interests you, this article is for you. Continue reading.
What is the Nest Cam?
In a nutshell, Nest Cam is the brand given to smart home connected security cameras in Google’s line of Nest devices. That includes three cameras, at the time of this writing. All branded “Nest Cam” and which we’ll talk more about in a bit. Although there have been others before throughout the company’s history.
Nest Cams are smart cameras. This means they connect to the Nest and/or Google Home app on mobile devices. And via the dedicated Nest camera website.
Via a cloud connection and the apps mentioned above, the Nest Cams offer a ton of great features. These include not only motion alerts, but also person, package, and animal alerts. As well as recognizing familiar faces. Alerts are also highly customizable, both in terms of scheduling and configuring notification areas. In addition to the types of alerts displayed, at the discretion of the user.
Plus, it’s all on top of AI-driven features like voice commands through Google Assistant. Accessible through smart display hubs and other devices. And all of these features only get even better when paired with a Nest Aware subscription.
What’s the story behind the Nest Cam?
The Nest Cam’s history is short but, like the company’s explosion itself, began with an acquisition. Namely, the acquisition of Dropcam by Nest in 2014.
Nest paid around $555 million for the acquisition and effectively integrated Dropcam’s products into its own lineup. This follows the launch of its Nest Learning Thermostat and smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in 2011 and 2013, respectively. Prior to this acquisition, Nest did not have a camera division.
The link would ultimately lead to the launch of the original Nest Cam Indoor the same year as the acquisition. The Nest Cam Indoor comes with optional Nest Aware services and only 1080p resolution. But it also came with plenty of features that have become staples in the company’s lineup. Starting with a rotating magnetic mount, with modern Nest cameras using magnets to connect to a wall mount. And in addition to night vision, two-way talk and sound and motion alerts.
Nest also launched an outdoor variant of this camera in 2016, with weatherproof construction.
Google, on the other hand, merged Nest with its own, with a full merger in 2018. The search giant continued the Nest product line, and its current line was launched as a result of the acquisition. But before that, Nest also updated its two cameras with the Nest Cam IQ and an outdoor variant.
The new cameras featured an HDR-capable 4K sensor with AI face recognition. As well as connectivity updates, infrared LEDs for night vision, and better speakers and mics. Close-up tracking for zooming has also been added to ensure a more accurate snapshot of any movement recognized by the cameras. Both models were launched in 2017.
Which Nest Cams are currently available?
There are currently three camera models sold by Nest. Along with Nest Doorbell (battery) and Nest Doorbell (wired), the company offers Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor), Cam with Floodlight, and Cam (indoor, wired). The first two of these devices start at $179.99 and $279.99 respectively. And the main difference is the inclusion of Floodlight support, for the Nest Cam with Floodlight.
But there are also other differences when it comes to Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor) and Cam with Floodlight. Google designed this latest gadget, as its branding suggests, to be wired. As with any projector. And it is constantly fed, accordingly. The Nest Cam, on the other hand, is not powered but uses a battery. Unless hardwired using a 3rd party adapter or accessory.
This also means that with Nest Aware Plus and unless the Nest Cam is receiving constant power, only the Nest Cam with Floodlight can record footage 24/7. Again, that’s unless the Nest Cam (outdoor or indoor) is powered. The wired indoor camera also supports 24/7 recording as it is wired. That’s if it’s linked to an account with a Nest Aware Plus subscription.
In terms of other differences, the wired Nest Cam for indoor use is also not weatherproof. While the price starts at $99.99 for this camera.
Otherwise, each camera is functionally identical. Offering facial recognition and sound recognition for breaking glass or alarms. And offers motion detection with precision detection for movement, people, vehicles and animals.
Each also shoots footage in 1080p HDR with night vision support. Storage of three hours of history as ready-to-use event video clips without subscription. Or up to 60 days with a subscription and up to 10 days of live footage with a Plus subscription.
The cameras further offer two-way talk via “talk and listen” and will record up to an hour of footage if they lose WiFi access. But only battery powered cameras will record during a power outage, until they run out of battery.
Finally, the three cameras all shoot with a field of view of 130 – measured diagonally, or 135 degrees for the Nest Cam (indoor, wired), at a 16:9 ratio.
The Nest app isn’t the only way to connect your Nest Cam
Now, among the more interesting aspects of Nest is what’s happened to its app since Google acquired the company. Not least because Google has muddied the waters in terms of How? ‘Or’ What the Nest app is used.
For cameras earlier than the latest battery-powered devices – Nest Cam (battery) and Nest Doorbell (battery) – the Nest app was a requirement. With these two cameras, and probably newer ones in the future, all you need is Google Home. So, in a way, the story of Nest Cam is similar to the story of Nest itself.
The change has undoubtedly made things easier for end users. All Nest cameras integrate with the Google Home ecosystem, but the Nest app requirement makes using them more complicated than necessary. Although the app brings a few features associated with the Nest Aware subscription service, it is not necessary for everything of them. And using two apps is not practical for several obvious reasons.
Also, these features aren’t available for Nest cameras that don’t require the Nest app. So while there is and will be some initial confusion for those who have owned older Nest cameras before, that shouldn’t remain the case in the long run. The latest cameras only requiring the Google Home app – and, in fact, not working through the Nest app at all – eliminate redundancy and potential confusion. With potential implications for the future, if Google continues in this direction with future gadgets.