Google simplifies Nest Aware pricing and rolls out new sound detection feature

It's also launching a new Home Feed in the app

Big changes coming to Nest Aware
The Ambient is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

Now that Nest and Google are one big living, breathing entity – complete with rebranded hardware – it's making changes to its Nest Aware subscription service with a much simpler pricing model.

In 2020, Nest Aware will move to a two-tier model: the basic Nest Aware, which will offer 30 days of event video history and cover all of your Nest devices for $6 per month; and Nest Aware Plus, which bumps you up to 60 days of event video history and 10 days of 24/7 video history, costing $12 per month.

Currently, the basic tier costs just $5 a month, but that only gives you five days of video history, while the $10 option gives you 10 days. Both of those also only cover one device, with additional Nest devices costing extra, so this new plan will be much cheaper for homes with multiple Nest cameras.

Hands on: Google Nest Mini review

This doesn't just go for cameras, but smart speakers and displays too, including the new Nest Hub Max. "We want to bring one subscription for the whole home across all your devices," said Ben Brown, lead product manager at Google.

All of the features like Intelligent Alerts and activity zones will be available on both tiers, but Google is also introducing event-based recordings to the Nest Aware plans, which will act as an alternative to 24/7 recording and only start recording when the camera detects motion or sound, also sending you an alert. Assuming the detection is accurate enough, it will be a better choice for the more privacy-aware.

Finally, Google said that anyone already paying for Nest Aware can continue to use their current subscription, if they so wish.

Sound detection

The new Nest plans arrive just in time for Google's new sound detection feature, which will listen out for smoke or carbon monoxide alarms, and send an alert to your phone when it hears one. Google says this doesn't include break-in sounds like smashing glass right now.

Sound detection is rolling out across the whole range of Google Nest range including Nest cameras, smart speakers and Google's new Nest Wifi devices. It will be available on legacy Google Home speakers too, including the OG Google Home and Mini.

Google also told us the sound detection is done on-device. "Nothing is being recorded," said Brown. "The only time sound will be recorded is if it actually hears there's a smoke alarm and then it records that clip for you so you can listen to confirm it."

All of these detections will appear in the Google Home app too, although Nest's sound detection feature on its cameras will still work as usual in the standalone Nest app.

New Home Feed

Coming later this year is a new feature to the Home app called "Home Feed" which will pull key events from your various Google Nest devices into one glanceable feed.

"We realized in trying to synthesize all these events across all these different devices, it was really important we unified an experience for that," said Brown. The new Home Feed will show a list of events from the day, with prioritized events shown at the top.

"It will recognize between important events and non-important events," said Brown. "If an unknown person is seen at the door, that might be something that pops to the top. A known person seen every day might not pop to the top of the feed."

We haven't yet seen what the new Home Feed looks like, but Brown confirmed it will appear as a new tab in the Home app and will include events triggered by the new sound detection feature.

Emergency services

The final new feature will make it easier to contact the right emergency services through Google Nest devices, both phones and speakers.

Now when you get a notification that your devices have detected a break-in or a fire alarm, you'll be given a shortcut to call the local emergency dispatcher based on the location of your home, rather than the one closest to where you're calling from.

It will also work with Google's smart speakers for when you're at home, so you'll be able to say, "Hey Google, call 911" and it will generate a callback number, so if you get call off the responder can call back and it will ring all the Google devices in the home that support communications.

This feature will also be rolling out to the US later this year, with other territories TBD.

TAGGED    google

Related stories

amazon Amazon Alexa v Google Assistant: Pitting the voices against each other
google The best Google Home and Assistant smart speakers
google The best Google Home compatible devices for your smart home
google How to make calls on Google Home smart speakers
google Google Assistant voice recordings: How to view and delete data from Google Home
google How to add and control devices with Google Assistant and Google Home