New Google Nest Cams can record video without a monthly subscription
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New Google Nest Cams can record video without a monthly subscription

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Google is introducing updates to the Nest camera line with a new version of the Google Nest Doorbell and several new versions of the Google Nest Cam. The company is also toning down the Nest Cam’s restrictive business model, which previously has all but required paying a monthly subscription fee to get a useful camera.

We’ll get to the new models in a minute, but the biggest news is that Google is making the cameras more useful without a monthly subscription. Previously, core camera features like recording video were locked behind a $6-$12 monthly subscription plan called “Nest Aware,” but the new cameras can now record local video. You only get three hour’s worth of “events” (motion detection, as opposed to 24/7 video), but it’s a start. Google has also moved activity zones and some image recognition features from the cloud-based pay-per-month service to on-device processing, so they work without a subscription, too.

If you still want to pay for the “Nest Aware” subscription, it comes in two tiers. There’s the $6 “Nest Aware,” which gives you 30 days of “event” video history and facial recognition. The free tier can detect and alert you about people, animals, and vehicles, but the subscription adds facial recognition for “Familiar faces” so Nest can tell if a loved one or stranger is at the door and alert you accordingly. The $12-per-month tier is “Nest Aware Plus,” which provides 60 days of event video history and 10 days of 24/7 video history if you have a wired (not battery-powered) Google Nest Cam (the doorbell can’t record continuous video).

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