Google Nest Launches Ring Rival Doorbell In UK

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Watch out Amazon’s Ring.com as Google’s Nest division launches facial recognition video doorbell in UK

Google has expanded its smart home portfolio after its Nest division launched its Nest Hello facial recognition video doorbell in the UK.

The smart doorbell thrusts Google into direct competition with its tech rival Amazon, which in April this year completed its $1 billion (£699m) acquisition of smart home equipment supplier Ring.

Nest Hello was launched in the US in March, and like Ring’s smart doorbell, it offers houseowners video (and sound) connectivity with people at their front door. However, Nest Hello promises to also recognise friends and family at the door, but this could provoke some privacy concerns.

Machine learning

Nest Hello will retail for £229 and utilises the homeowner’s Wi-Fi network (2MB minimum) for connectivity.

It boasts a wide-angle camera (160° field of view) that offers HD (1080p) video, even at night.

Homeowners can go back and look at a 3-hour snapshot history to see who left a parcel outside, and it can record 30 days of continuous video with a Nest Aware subscription (prices start at £4 per month).

This subscription also allows the homeowner to get personalised alerts based on who is at the door, such as whether it’s a family member or the next-door neighbour.

Nest Hello of course does the usual smart doorbell things, such as sending the homeowner an alert to his or her smartphone, which allows the owner to talk to visitors through the doorbell from anywhere with an internet connection.

Users can also opt to have the doorbell say one of three quick phrases, such as “we’ll be right there” – handy for when you are stepping out of the shower.

And it boasts an ambient noise cancellation to allow homeowners to hear visitors clearly, even on noisy streets.

Users can also set Quiet Time, which lets people turn off the door chime from the app, while still receiving notifications. Useful for when a baby is sleeping for example.

Nest Hello can even let you know there’s someone at your door via Google Assistant-enabled smart speaker inside the house, such as the Google Home speaker.

But unlike its rival Ring, Nest Hello also incorporates machine-learning tech.

This allows Nest’s smart doorbell to analyse video from the front door.

Google claims this it helps differentiate between people walking by, visitors or delivery people approaching and loitering burglars.

“Your front door is where home begins. It’s the entryway to special moments with family and friends – but also the most common way burglars enter your home,” said Lionel Guicherd-Callin, head of EMEA Product Marketing for Nest Labs.

“So we’ve designed a doorbell experience that makes your front door more safe and secure, yet still feels friendly,” he said. “You can truly connect with your guests at the door from anywhere. Never miss a package. And have added security and peace of mind when it’s needed.”

Hardwired unit

But there is one big difference between Nest Hello and Ring which may put off some owners, in that the Nest unit will need an electricity supply.

Ring models on the other hand incorporate a rechargeable battery (which tends to last at least three months), but Nest Hello it seems is only suitable to replace those doorbells that already have a power supply.

Available from 13 June, Nest Hello will cost £229 for DIY fitting powered by existing doorbell wiring.

A professional installation will cost £329, but it is not clear at the time of writing whether this include the cost of running a power cable to the unit.

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