Sunday , July 3 2022

Google's cameras get smarter and cheaper

Google’s new Nest Cams use AI to detect intruders and spot packages

Google today unveiled four new Nest cameras and a doorbell in an effort to simplify home security — and bring its strongest competition to Amazon’s Ring system yet. They also include Nest‘s first battery-powered units, as well as a reduction in price in a redesigned wired Nest Cam, making its security products more accessible than ever.

Long story short, here’s what’s new:

This is Google we’re talking about, so it’s no surprise that the new cameras are packing some new AI tricks. Google says it’s designed the cameras to minimize notifications.

Rather than just alerting you for every small movement detected, the cameras use on-device processing to alert you about people, animals, vehicles, and packages that show up in their field of view. It also means you don’t need to pay for a separate subscription for this detailed information — it all happens right out of the box. This is all powered by a new Tensor Processing Unit or TPU.

Nest Doorbell in four colorsNest Doorbell in four colors

That also means the cameras are smarter about what they store, able to pick out important ‘events’ rather than just any little movement. In the case of a Wi-Fi or power outage, the cameras can record about an hour of data internally, which Google says should be “about a week’s worth” of events.

Your free Nest account can save three hours of events total, but if you subscribe to Nest Aware, that goes up to 30($6) or 60($12) days. A Nest Aware subscription also enables the cameras to detect familiar faces.

Nest Cam FloodlightNest Cam Floodlight

The availability of battery power is a neat option for those setting up their first home security system; figuring out how to wire everything is often one of the biggest barriers for people to set up cameras around their home. Google says the batteries can last from roughly 1 to 7 months, depending on how much the camera needs to record and other settings. That said, you can also wire the battery-powered models if you prefer.

Nest Cam (wired) in four colorsNest Cam (wired) in four colors

The cameras come in some rather stylish new designs that should be easier to integrate into your home’s particular aesthetics, and I can see the Nest Doorbell being particularly popular right away. They all obviously connect to Google Home, so if you’re in that ecosystem, they have a direct line to the Google Assistant and related features.

The battery-powered Nest Cam and Nest Doorbell are up for preorder today and will be available August 24. The other two models are set to launch “soon.”

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