Learn how Nest cameras and Nest Hello detect sound and motion

Google Nest cameras and Google Nest Hello look for changes in sound and motion so they know when to send a you a mobile notification or an email. When you add a Nest Aware subscription, advanced cloud-based algorithms can pick out different kinds of activity, making the alerts you receive even more meaningful.

When your camera or video doorbell detects activity, it can send an alert to your phone, tablet, or email. Your camera will also add an activity marker to your camera's Sightline in the Nest app.

Basic motion and sound detection on all cameras

Your camera or video doorbell first figures out what everything looks and sounds like when there’s no activity. This way it can tell when something in the scene changes, such as someone walking into view. It can also pick up unexpected noises like your dog barking. The software will try to ignore background noise like the steady hum of a fan so that your camera only sends alerts when something notable happens.

Without a Google Nest Aware subscription, your camera doesn’t use Nest’s advanced cloud-based algorithms to fine-tune its motion and sound detection.

How Nest Aware improves sound and motion detection

The advanced sound and motion detection that comes with a Nest Aware subscription requires a lot of computing power. By streaming your video to Nest’s cloud servers, our state-of-the-art software can look for different kinds of activities. Using cloud servers also lets us more easily update and refine Nest Aware’s activity detection over time, while keeping your data private and secure.

Nest Privacy page and Nest Privacy Statement

Nest Aware can give you more accurate alerts about motion and sound, and fewer false positives from things like light, shadows, and branches. In addition, you can have your camera look for specific kinds of activity, and let you know if a person walks into view. You can also set up Activity Zones so you only get notifications about motion in certain areas like a pathway or a door.

Motion detection improvements

With Nest Aware, your camera or video doorbell can notice smaller things, and things that are further away. For instance, it might be able to pick up a kitten moving at the other side of a large room. But the Nest Aware algorithms aren’t just more sensitive to “small”, they’re also more sensitive to “fast.” Nest cameras can alert you to things that happen in a flash, like when someone runs past a doorway or window.

With Nest Aware, Nest cameras also reduce false alerts. For instance, you probably don’t want to get a notification every time your camera sees the branch of a tree swaying in the wind. Nest Aware algorithms pay attention to motion patterns, the shape and texture of what’s moving, and when the motion starts and stops. These help your camera tell the difference between things like a tree swaying and a door suddenly opening, helping give you fewer false alerts.

In addition, Nest Aware can look for certain kinds of activity and send an alert about what your camera saw. For example, when your camera detects someone walking into the view, it can send a person alert. Some of our cameras can even detect familiar faces. For more details, see What you get with a Nest Aware subscription for your camera.

Sound detection improvements

Sound detection is also upgraded to be more sensitive, so normal conversation is picked up as an activity event.

Nest Aware algorithms also measure ambient audio levels and filter out any regular noise in the area (like a running air conditioner). That way, they can notice fluctuations in noise and determine if an important audio event has occurred, like a boom or the crash of a window breaking.

Some Nest cameras can pick out specific types of sounds. For example, you can set up notifications so your camera sends an alert when it detects a dog barking or a person speaking, but not bother you when it senses other noises. For more details, see What you get with a Nest Aware subscription for your camera.


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