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Google Nest Cam - BEWARE

I just bought a Google Nest Cam (battery version.)

It wasn’t cheap (AU$329) but its features looked good and I already had some Google Home products.

Setup was easy, camera OK, web features excellent … all good.

But this morning I discovered the gotcha.

Nest Cams come with “Up to 3 hours of event-based video history”.

Well, that looks OK. Three hours is two Hollywood movies. That’s tonnes, right?

But, it you expand the Video History tab under Tech Specs you discover that it only “Captures and stores video clips of activity that happened within the past 3 hours.”

So, you have an unwelcome visitor to your home at 1:00 AM and, when you wake at 7:00 AM, there is NO RECORDED HISTORY of the event.

Bewt!

Had I realised that I would have instead bought a $100 camera with a memory card.

There is, of course, a solution. For only $9/month I can get up to 30 days of event history.

Yee friggin’ haa.

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Welcome to the community, @smacs.

Sorry to hear about your most unsatisfactory consumer experience.

Yes. Return the goods for a full refund. That’s what I would do.

I think what is missing here is “change detection” aka “motion detection”. It probably would be good enough for the stated purpose to keep a maximum of 3 hours of video, provided that recording only happens when “something” is happening.

Otherwise, regardless, 3 hours is not much - depending on sensor resolution and compression capability.

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PS I wouldn’t touch any Google product with a barge pole, due to privacy concerns.

I couldn’t find any information, for this particular product, about exactly where the video is stored, who has access to it, what laws apply to it, what policies apply to it, how if at all the video is used by Google, …

More generally, I wouldn’t use any video surveillance solution where I didn’t control what happens to the video. That’s just me though. :wink:

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Choice has reviewed the Google Nest Cams…

and is the 3 hours local video storage when the cameras aren’t connected to the internet when cloud storage is possible?

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One hour local storage. Presumably the rest is “somewhere”.

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Welcome to the forum @smacs.

I’m sure you are aware that if you asked for a security camera that can record video in case of an incident, you can claim it is not fit for purpose under the ACL (Aust. Consumer Law). For help with this please search the forum for ACL, and writing letters of complaint on the Choice website.

If you went to the store and simply asked to buy that camera, you have no recourse.

This is correct as a stand alone product, as stated on the Google store page that has this product.

You can opt to have the “event video history, 24/7 coverage and more” recorded by Google if you wish to pay for one of the two Nest Aware subscriptions plans.

This subscription model is not unique to Google. Many security cameras require subscriptions to store your video ‘in the cloud’. The big benefit of the Google Nest Cam is that it supposedly dovetails seamlessly into the Google ecosystem of products rather than having a stand alone security camera.

The other option you mention, having a memory card in the camera works well but you need the appropriate software to be able to log into the camera and access the stored video. I had cameras like this that worked wonderfully and Windows did an update which scotched the software. I no longer have remote access! I would have to remove and open up each camera individually to access the SD card.

The final option is if you buy an NVR (network video recorder) that connects to the camera(s). You can record your video there and access by connecting into to the NVR. [If you have wi-fi cameras, all you need is power to the camera(s)]. I have seen wi-fi NVRs the size of a smallish router.

Hope that helps.

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Looking online, the 3 hours cloud storage is included with the Google Nest Cams. If one wishes more than 3 hours, a monthly subscription is required to increase storage capacity.

It also looks like purchasing a Google Nest Cams without subscription is restrictive as most of the video processing occurs in the cloud.

The 1 hour is local storage if wifi is lost. Information associated with the nest cams indicates it needs wifi and internet connection to work.

This might not apply if the limitations are provided on packaging or in information at the point of sale.

As outlined above, Google Nest Cams without a monthly subscription and connected to the internet is very restricted in its application.

If the information was clear at the point of sale/on packaging, then it would fall into change of mind (even if the purchaser didn’t read the information prior to handing over cash).

@smacs should see what the change in mind policy is with the retailer where the best cams were purchased. Hopefully they are generous and the nest cams can be returned for a refund/exchange.

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Cloud stored with 3 hour loop of storage, the $9/month increases the loop timer to the 30 days (this timer also depends on your model as some get a better storage limit than others). I would be thinking the Cloud Storage is Google’s Cloud (I don’t see them hosting it other than on their system or contracted storage systems). For a short period when the internet connection is down the device will store some length of video but once reconnected to the web it uploads the stored video to the Cloud service. There are two systems for storing the data, one is the Nest Cloud storage and if you link your Google account the data is stored with your Google account storage. Neither of those two systems fills me with any confidence about what will be shared through the Googleverse. I add though that Amazon etc are just the same when it comes to what they need they will use.

How Nest cameras store recorded video - Google Nest Help

As to the privacy of that data…forget it

FAQs on privacy: Google Nest - Android - Google Nest Help

Ring devices

How to Save Ring Doorbell Events to Local Drive – The Security Camera Guy

If you have the Free plan no storage, you have to pay to get storage starting at the Basic plan

Protect Plans | Home Alarm Security Monitoring Service | Ring

From a July 2021 review on TomsguideDOTcom ( Best security camera storage plans compared: Nest, Ring and Arlo | Tom’s Guide (tomsguide.com)) These figures are US dollar rates not Aus dollar ones, and the review may be worth a read for anyone considering what to get (if anything).
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Free plans

If you don’t sign up for a subscription plan, most cameras are limited not only in how much video footage you can view but also in what features are enabled. Here’s a summary of the features available in each company’s subscription plan (and a source for more details on each product).

Arlo: View live stream and receive notifications.

Blink: Live view streaming

Canary: One-day history, video clips, custom activity zones, person detection, for up to four cameras.

Nest: 3-hour history, people, animal, vehicle, and package detection, and custom activity zones.

Ring: View live video and receive notifications.

Wyze: 14-day rolling cloud storage (up to 12-second clips), custom activity zones, 2-way audio, smoke & CO2 alarm detection.

If you want to go the free route, both Blink and Wyze have free storage, as well as a number of other features that are only available via subscription with other security cameras.

Paid subscription features

When you step up to paid plans, each company offers extra features in addition to cloud recordings. We’ll get to the pricing in a moment, but here are the features that are enabled once you subscribe to a plan.

Arlo: 2K and 4K video; downloadable 30-day video history; Person/vehicle/animal detection; package detection; customizable activity zones, emergency response service

Blink: 60 days rolling video storage, optional local storage.

Canary: Unlimited video downloads; desktop streaming; two-way talk; custom arming modes

Nest: Continuous recording; Person detection; Facial recognition

Ring: Save and share live video.

Wyze: Complete motion capture. Will record the entire motion event, rather than just a 12-second clip.
Arlo users can also subscribe to a CVR (continuous video recording) Plan, which will continuously record video to the cloud. However, you can only view this video, not download it. A 14-day CVR plan costs $10/$100 per camera, and a 30-day CVR plan costs $20/$200 per camera. The price plan for each additional camera is 50 percent less."

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Whether it’s 3 hrs or 8 hrs of history, how much benefit will be derived from 30 minutes of history of an uninvited visitor in a dark hoodie and ski mask. It should be evident the next day from what is missing or open that there has been a visitor.

Is a better option a system that alerts you via your mobile when it detects movement inside or around the property? If the live video identifies there is an intruder, it’s evidence of unauthorised entry to your property. Something the police will respond to on your call. There is of course an assumption the visitor has not already taken steps to turn off the household power or disable the NBN service.

For some consumers products such as Google Nest Cam and related Google Home product range will appeal. Whether they deliver a practical and reliable alternative to a professional standard home security system? Google marketing may be offering more a warm fuzzy feeling ‘placebo effect’ than an effective preventive solution.

If set up inside the home, is it more a tool for spying on the dog while one is out, checking on the goldfish, or observing the kids coming home late from a date?

I’ve considered similar for checking on the front gate, as an aid to welcoming visitors and the parcel delivery van. Getting an alert when there is movement would be necessary to make it practical. I use similar remote trail cameras for wildlife tracking. These can optionally connect remotely over the mobile network and alert when there is action. Does Google offer a similar external grade camera with battery and wireless Internet connection?

Note:
More professionally focused home protection systems can operate for extended periods on battery without external power. Alert if household power is interrupted. Use dedicated high security wireless technology to communicate status, issue alerts and deliver video.

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