Google Is Finally Fixing 3 Notorious Nest Cam Limits for Free Users
Without a paid subscription, Google’s Nest Cam can be very restrictive. Most of the exciting features that lure customers to the Nest Cam are locked behind a subscription plan that costs anywhere from $6 to $12 per month.
Unsubscribed Nest Cams are stripped of facial recognition, real event video, and activity zone features. For the most part, unsubscribed Nest Cams are useless—or at least they have been until now.
Fortunately, Google plans to tone down this restrictive business model. The company has announced several new improvements to the Nest Cam, including making it more useful without a paid subscription.
How Has Google Fixed Major Nest Cam Issues?
Since its launch, Google’s Nest Cam has been plagued with three problems that shouldn’t have been a problem in the first place:
- All key activities of the Nest Cam are outsourced to the cloud.
- Free-tier users are forced to deal with unnecessary alerts because Activity Zones is a premium add-on.
- Getting recordings of live events is quite tricky for users without a paid subscription.
In January 2021, Google dropped some hints about improvements to the Nest camera lines. After a long wait, the new generation of Nest Cam is here, and with it, much-needed fixes for these three annoying problems.
Below is a breakdown of three features of the new generation of Nest Cams and how they’ll fix the problems.
On-Device Processing and Local Storage
Most of the Nest Cam’s processing and storage actions are done on the cloud. As a result, Nest Cameras won’t work without an internet connection—they rely on the cloud to do their job.
In other words, whenever your internet or Google’s Nest cloud service goes down, your Nest Cam goes down with it. It can be very frustrating when this happens.
Google wants to change this. The company has announced it will be embracing on-device processing and local storage for videos. Also, activity zones and some image recognition features will be moved from the cloud to the Nest Cams. This will form the foundation for making the Nest Cams work offline and without a subscription plan.
One of the immediate impacts will be less reliance on the cloud, and for some, a smoother Nest Cam experience. Nest Cam users won’t have to rely on the cloud to recognize an animal from a person or a vehicle. It will all be done right there on the device.
Customers with patchy internet will find on-device processing and storage as a blissful alternative to the cloud.
It will also be a good backup plan for whenever Google’s Nest cloud service goes AWOL, as it has done in the recent past. Indeed, Google’s Nest cloud service has been a bit unreliable within the last few years.
In 2019, Android Police reported a series of embarrassing outages. Google’s Nest cloud service was down more than five times within a five-month period. The outage was particularly problematic in November of 2019 and felt a lot like what had happened with Nest in November of 2018.
Google routinely issued a statement after each outage and provided a fix, only to repeat the whole cycle once another outage occurred. These embarrassing outages proved that it wasn’t wise to make Nest Cams rely solely on remote servers.
Activity Zones for Free-Tier Users
Google’s Nest Cam informs you whenever it detects someone (or something) around your home. This feature provides peace of mind whenever you’re not around. However, it can also be annoying.
As smart as the Nest Cams can get, false positives are still a major problem. Swaying trees and moving shadows can trigger alerts. Even TV shows can sometimes make your Nest Cams trigger alerts. This means you’ll end up being alerted more often than necessary.
The best fix for this is usually to set up an activity zone—a specific area of interest within the camera’s field of view that you need watched. Without a paid subscription, setting up an activity zone has been impossible for Nest Cams until now.
However, with the incoming generation of Nest Cams, free-tier users will now be able to set up activity zones. Consequently, Nest Cams on free plans will be able to monitor and trigger alerts when it sees movement only in these zones and not anywhere else in the camera’s field of view.
3 Hours of Live Video Recording
Three hours of snapshots are all you get under the free plan with the current Nest camera lines. Google Nest owners know how frustrating those short little blurbs can be. Fortunately, that’s also going to change for good.
Google is upgrading the three hours of snapshots to three hours of true video recording for users on the free plan. Three hours of "real event" videos might seem small, but compared to what’s currently offered, it’s a big step in the right direction.
Nest Aware Plans Are Still King
The Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus—the aptly named subscription plans for Nest Cams—options are still much better than whatever Google is offering to free-tier users.
With the Nest Aware plan, Nest Cam customers get logs of events for the past 30 days, while the Nest Aware plus extend that limit to 60 days. The Nest Aware plus also offers a ten-day 24/7 video history. Of course, this is not available on free plans.
While the new free plan can detect and alert Nest users about animals, people, and vehicles, a subscription plan brings facial recognition to the table. A free plan will only tell you if a captured movement is a person or not. However, with a subscription plan, Nest can recognize "familiar faces" and let you know if the person is a stranger or a loved one.
Nest Cams Get an Upgrade
Nonetheless, the latest improvements make the new Nest Cams significantly more useful than older models for those who eschew the paid subscription. It might be wishful thinking, but if Google bumps up the three hours of real event recording to twelve or twenty-four hours, it could be game-changing for the free-tier.
All new Nest Cam models will ship with the new features. The new models will also be shipping with several new designs and hardware changes. To enjoy the latest improvements, current customers will have to purchase the latest Nest Cam model.
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September 14, 2021 at 04:31AM