Google’s facial recognition video doorbell – dubbed as the Nest Hello – is all set to launch in the UK. The Google video doorbell, which competes with Amazon Ring, is the first from Google’s new home security product lineup to launch in the UK. The Nest Secure alarm system will be the next to arrive in the UK.
The Google video doorbell – priced at £229 – comes with a wide-angle camera that captures high-definition HDR video with night vision after dusk. Google’s Nest Hello records video in the 4:3 format using the 160-degree lens, meaning the video or image is taken from head to toe without having to turn the phone into landscape mode.
To enhance the performance, Nest Hello uses HDR for capturing videos and images during day and night. Further, the gadget uses IR illumination when the natural light is not enough. The doorbell is also capable of sending pictures to the user’s phone. Users can even talk to the visitors through the doorbell, given there is an internet connection. Additionally, users can also set a reply on the doorbell such as “we’ll be right there.”
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Another feature that makes the Google video doorbell standout from the lot is its machine learning technology. The tech tracks video from the front door, and can differentiate between people who are just walking by, visitors or delivery people and burglars, claims Google.
“Your front door is where home begins. It’s the entryway to special moments with family and friends – but also the most common way burglars enter your home,” said Nest Labs’ head of EMEA product marketing, Lionel Guicherd-Callin, according to The Guardian. The doorbell experience has been designed in a way to make front doors safer and secure, without compromising on the friendly part, the executive added.
Nest Hello has a powerful wireless chip in the doorbell. Unlike the Ring system, wherein the Wi-Fi is weak, Nest Hello comes with a dual-band 801.11 ac chip. Also, the Google video doorbell can record continuously, but users need the Nest Aware subscription for this. Other smart doorbells lack this feature, and record small feeds only when motion is detected or the button is pressed.
Without the Nest Aware, users get only three hours of history. The Aware subscription starts at £4.99 a month, which gives users 5 days of continuous recording. The Google video doorbell is also capable of connecting with other smart home devices, such as Google Assistant speakers to let users get alerts.
“Instead of just alerting you that there’s someone at the door, we can tell you that your kids are at the door, or there is someone you don’t know standing at the door,” Guicherd-Callin said.
Though Nest Hello scores higher over rivals on several fronts, it is not perfect yet. Unlike the Ring Video Doorbell 2, the Google video doorbell needs to be plugged into an existing doorbell or chime, implying there is no battery-powered option. Also, privacy concerns could discourage some potential buyers.
A few months back, Nest was merged into Google’s hardware team. Though Nest previously assured that it would keep the data separate from Google’s other operations, the privacy advocates were not satisfied. Google, however, did say that it will be “transparent” about any changes made.
After BBC approached Google on the subject, the search giant said: “Nest users’ data will continue to be used for the limited purposes described in our privacy statement like providing, developing, and improving Nest services and products.” Further, the company said that users would be made aware of the benefits emerging from such integration, any changes to the handling of data and about the choices available to consumers.
However, organizations working to protect user privacy are still concerned. Google is already known for collecting an immense amount of data on internet users, and now, the integration of Nest expands its reach further. Nevertheless, only time will tell if such concerns about user privacy are real or not.
Smart doorbells are a growing trend, and the search giant has made the right move by launching Nest Hello in the UK. Nest Hello was launched in the U.S. in March. Citing a recent survey of the smart home device owners, Ben Wood, head of research at CCS Insight, claims that the connected doorbells are among the top three next purchases of UK buyers, according to The Guardian. The analyst, however, notes that the Ring is a popular name in the doorbell category, and with Amazon’s name behind it, rivals would have to make extra efforts to survive the competition.