Google Nest Doorbells, Cameras Get Battery Power In Revamp

Google has revamped its Nest line of smart home devices, adding battery-powered units and features that can be used without a subscription.

The company, which acquired Nest in 2014, introduced two battery-powered devices, the Nest Cam (battery) and Nest Doorbell (battery), both priced at $179 (£130).

The two units are water-resistant for outdoor or indoor use, and include speakers, motion sensors and microphones for voice communications.

The devices can run entirely on battery power, in which case Google predicts they’ll last for 1.5 to 7 months without a recharge, or users can choose to link them to a wired power source.

Image credit: Google

Motion sensor

Both devices save power by activating only when motion is detected, and neither offers continuous video monitoring.

To make the camera easier to recharge, it’s attached magnetically to its base.

Acknowledging that this could make the camera easy to steal, Google offers a separate anti-theft mount for $14.99, allowing the device to be tethered to a wall with a metal cable.

Alternatively, if the camera is stolen and the user files a police report Google says it will replace the unit for free.

Both camera and doorbell are available for pre-order now and are intended to launch on 24 August.

The company’s also offering an indoor-only wired camera for $99.99 and the Nest Cam with Floodlight, for $279.99, which includes two lights on the sides for outdoor lighting. Google didn’t give a launch date for these two products.

Image credit: Google

Cloud-free features

Google previously made Nest features such as recording video available only with a monthly subscription plan, but the devices will now be able to carry out some functions locally without being liked to a cloud service.

The cameras can now record three hours’ worth of motion-detection-activated “events”, with some image recognition features also now carried out on the device.

The Nest Aware cloud service, for $6 per month, offers 30 days of “event” video history and facial recognition, while the $12-per-month Nest Aware Plus provides 60 days of event video history and 10 days of continuous video history.

Without a subscription the devices can alert users about people, animals and vehicles, but don’t make use of facial recognition.

The new devices will now operate exclusively through the Google Home app, with the previous Nest app now working only for legacy units.

A widespread Google outage last December temporarily disabled many of the company’s smart home devices, including Nest cameras and doorbells, as well as smart lighting – leaving many users unable to switch their lights on or off.

Google launched its first Nest smart doorbells in the UK in 2018, as a rival to Amazon’s Ring.

Image credit: Google
Matthew Broersma

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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