This time last year Nest acquired Dropcam, a webcam that constantly streams to the cloud, capturing video when it’s activated by motion or noise. They’re used for a mixture of home security, child monitoring, catching naughty pets doing adorably naughty things, and videoing your own classic You’ve Been Framed moments.
A year later, Nest has launched Nest Cam. “The most striking difference between this and Dropcam is obviously the way it looks”, announced Nest’s Maxime Veron, holding up a camera that looks exactly like the previous Dropcam.
It does come with a few new mounting options, though, and it records cats and burglars at a slightly higher resolution: 1080p to Dropcam’s 720p. It also comes with an 8x digital zoom to home in on your dog’s sleeping face, and high-quality night vision.
Oh, and it has a speaker, so you can issue commands from the Nest Cam even though you’re far away. Commands like “get off the sofa, Fido!” or “stop burgling my house!” or “stop kissing that woman, Derek!”
The whole thing is backed up by a refreshed version of the Nest app, which now does more clever, connected stuff like taking you straight to a Nest Cam video feed if your Protect goes off so you can watch your possessions burning live on air. Don’t forget to shout “I’m meeeelting!” when the flames reach the camera.
Hopefully, though, that won’t happen, because Nest has also announced a new and improved version of its super-duper smoke alarm, the Nest Protect.
Apparently it wasn’t mandatory to have a smoke alarm in your house in France until March this year, but since the law was introduced the Nest Protect has become the country’s top-selling smoke alarm, which might mean that it’s awesome. It may also mean that the only people with enough money to buy one are paying attention to that law.
The new alarm does have a lot to recommend it: there’s a ‘split-spectrum’ sensor that Nest says is better at detecting the smoke from a smouldering fire and distinguishing it from steam or toast-smoke. You can also silence it using the Nest app: when a heads-up notification appears on your phone, you hold down the button to tell the alarm it’s just your inattentive approach to softening onions causing the smoke. Try keeping a lid on them next time.
It’s expensive – on average, 5-7 times the price of a traditional alarm – but it lasts for 10 years, and has a smaller, updated design that will make absolutely no difference at all once it’s been attached to a white ceiling. It also comes with a brighter Pathlight, a motion-sensitive soft light that’s really handy when you’re going to the loo in the middle of the night.
Nest is also updating the software behind all its devices to make your thermostat turn your boiler off if it detects carbon monoxide or fire, and to shut off the fan when temperatures get too low. You can now use the web app in most browsers, too.
Of course, there are people who think that cameras such as Nest Cam encourage a mixture of paranoia and narcissism. But of course you won’t listen to those guys. You’ll be too busy videoing yourself walking around your own house, fretting that someone might break in.