Recently, Google added the Home Mini and Home Max to its Google Home lineup, but you don’t need to shell out $49, $399, or $129 to take advantage of Google Assistant — provided you have a $299 Nest Cam IQ. On Wednesday, February 21, Nest updated the security camera so you can ask it questions starting with “OK, Google.”
This update comes on the heels of Google’s recent announcement that Nest is joining its hardware team. When Google bought the company in 2014, Nest remained a separate entity under the Alphabet umbrella. The move was aimed at making “Nest an integral part of Google’s big bet on hardware,” Rick Osterloh, the head of Google’s hardware division, wrote in a blog post. As of now, the update will only affect the indoor version of the Nest Cam IQ, not the outdoor version of Dropcams. (Nest said it’s protecting your privacy and safety by not offering Google Assistant on the outdoor version. You definitely don’t want the nightmarish neighbor children being able to turn your lights on and off from your porch.)
The update takes advantage of the Cam’s built-in speaker and microphone. While you’ll be able to control your smart-home devices, get weather updates, and ask it Google-able questions, the camera can’t play music or podcasts. You can ask it to cast audio on compatible speakers, though. The Cam IQ also won’t let you make or receive phone calls.
To turn on the Google Assistant feature, you need to open your Nest app, tap your product > Settings > Add Google Assistant. In that same place, you can temporarily stop the feature or disable it altogether.
In addition, Nest is adding a $5 per month Nest Aware subscription, which gives users five days of continuous recording. Before, users could only purchase $10 and $30 plans for 10 and 30 days’ worth of video, respectively. Those that have Nest Aware will also be able to set “person alerts” in Activity Zones to recognize the difference between humans and other moving objects, so you receive fewer unimportant motion alerts.
While it’s nice that the Nest Cam IQ is getting this update, it doesn’t change the fact that you can get a camera like the Arlo Q for $100 less and get seven days of free cloud storage. Then you can get a couple of Google Home Minis and at least be able to listen to some podcasts.