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Familiar face detection

With Nest Aware, you can use familiar face detection1 to teach your Google Nest camera to recognize faces of people that you know, and notify you when it detects people it doesn’t recognize. Over time, facial recognition becomes more accurate at determining familiar faces and can send you more helpful alerts.

You can also manage your familiar faces library in the app, like change a person’s name or delete a face profile.

Important: Use familiar face detection in compliance with the law. Depending on where you live, you might need to get consent to have your camera help you identify people who visit your home.

How familiar face detection works

Note: You need a Nest Aware subscription to use familiar face detection.

Basics

Whenever your camera detects a face, the activity is marked in your camera's recorded video in the Home app or Nest app.

When your camera detects an unfamiliar face, the app should ask whether it’s someone you know. You’ll have the option to save the person’s save data in the familiar face library. This helps your camera recognize the face as someone you know.

Important: Before saving any of your camera’s face data, check your local privacy laws. If required, get the person’s permission first before saving their face data.

Depending on which Nest camera model you have, you’ll be able to change settings and manage the familiar face library in the Home app, Nest app, or both.

Face library

Whenever your camera recognizes a face, photo snapshots of the person’s face will be saved in the familiar face library. From there, you’ll be able to edit the face profile of each person and manage photos.

All home members in the app have access to the familiar face library, and may be able to categorize faces your camera detects.

Recorded video and camera events

When your camera recognizes a face, the activity is marked in its recorded video. You can find this information by reviewing specific camera events, or by filtering activity in your camera’s video history.

Notifications

Each home member can change whether they get familiar face notifications.

If you turn familiar face detection off, your camera can still send alerts when it detects a person. However, it won’t recognize faces.

How familiar face detection works with two or more cameras

You can turn familiar face detection on or off for each camera in its settings.

Nest cameras in the same home share the same familiar face library. If you add a new camera to the same home, it uses the same familiar face library as the other cameras in your home. This means it won’t take as long to recognize certain faces.

If some cameras have a 1st gen Nest Aware subscription but others don’t, you can only use familiar face detection for the cameras with a subscription.

Change settings

Turn familiar face detection on or off

Home app

  1. Open the Home app .
  2. Tap Settings and then Nest Aware and then Familiar face detection.
  3. Turn familiar face detection on or off for each camera.

Nest app

  1. Open the Nest app Nest app.
  2. Tap Settings Nest settings icon.
  3. Select Familiar faces.
  4. Turn Familiar face detection on or off for each camera.

Enable notifications

Home app

First make sure familiar face detection is on for your camera.

Then, turn on notifications:

  1. Open the Google Home app .
  2. On the home screen, select your camera.
  3. Tap Settings  and then Notifications.
  4. Under “Seen,” turn People notifications on.

Note: The app also tells you if you need to Turn on people events to get notifications. If people events are turned off, you won’t get people notifications.

Nest app

First, make sure familiar face detection is turned on.

Then, turn on notifications:

  1. Open the Nest app Nest app.
  2. Tap Settings Nest settings icon.
  3. Choose Notifications.
  4. Select your camera.
  5. Tap People to turn people notifications on.

Manage your face library

Add or change the name of a face profile

Note: When you add or change a name of a person in the familiar face library in the Home app or Nest app, the change is also reflected in the other app.

Home app

  1. Open the Google Home app .
  2. Tap Settings and then Nest Aware and then Familiar face detection
  3. To add or change the name, tap a face and enter a new name.

Nest app

  1. Open the Nest app Nest app.
  2. Tap Settings Nest settings iconand then Familiar faces.
  3. Tap on the familiar face profile you want to name.
  4. Tap Name.
  5. Give the person a new name. You can use their actual name or enter a description like “mail carrier.”

Identify new faces from saved camera events

Home app

There are a few ways to find and categorize unfamiliar faces in the Home app.

Settings:

  1. Open the Google Home app .
  2. Tap Settings  and then Nest Aware and then Familiar face detection.
  3. If your camera has detected new people, you can tap New faces to find and categorize them.
  4. For each new face, tap Yes, No, or Not a person. Then, follow the on-screen prompts to identify the face.

To find anything you’ve tagged as Not a person, go to Familiar face detection and then tap Options and then Faces that aren’t people.

The Feed:

  1. Open the Google Home app .
  2. Tap the Feed tab.
  3. Choose the unfamiliar face event or group of events.
  4. Tap Add to face library, and then follow the prompts to identify each face your camera didn’t recognize.

Camera event details:

  1. Tap the camera event in the Feed or home history.
  2. Once the clip is open, swipe up for more details.
  3. In the “Faces” category, tap Manage, then follow the prompts to identify the faces your camera didn’t recognize.

Nest app

  1. Open the Nest app Nest app.
  2. Select your camera.
  3. At the bottom of your camera’s Sightline, tap People.
  4. If your camera has detected new people, you should be asked whether you know them. Select Yes or No.
    • If your camera misidentifies an object as a face, tap the drop-down menu and select This isn’t a person.
    • Anything you’ve tagged as not a person, such as your pet, a painting, the TV, etc. shows up in the Not a face category in your familiar faces library.

Combine face profiles of the same person

Home app

  1. Open the Google Home app .
  2. Tap Settings and then Nest Aware and then Familiar face detection.
  3. Start edit mode (two different ways):
    • At the top right corner of the screen, tap Edit. Then, select the faces you want to merge.
    • To select the first face in edit mode, touch and hold a face on the screen. Then, tap the other face you want to merge. Both faces are selected when you do this.
  4. At the top right corner of the screen, tap Merge .

Nest app

  1. Open the Nest app Nest app.
  2. Tap Settings Nest settings icon and then Familiar faces.
  3. Tap Select and then tap the duplicate profile that you want to combine.
  4. If there are many duplicate profiles, tap the others as well and thenMerge .

Delete face profiles

You can permanently delete specific face profiles saved in your home’s familiar face library in the app.

  • This removes the person from your familiar face library.
  • This also erases any snapshots used to help your camera recognize the person.
  • If you do this in either the Home app or Nest app, the change is also reflected in the other app.

Note: If you have more than one home in your account and you delete faces, it only applies to the home you’ve selected. Your familiar face library in other homes should be unaffected.

Home app

  1. Open the Google Home app .
  2. Tap Settings  and then Nest Aware and then Familiar face detection.
  3. Select the face profiles you want to merge. There are two ways to do this:
  • Option 1: Tap Edit Pencil icon / edit icon. Then, select the faces you want to merge.
  • Option 2: Touch and hold a face profile to select it in edit mode. Then, select any other face profiles you want to merge.
  1. At the top right corner of the screen, tap Delete .
  2. Confirm your choice.

Nest app

  1. Open the Nest app Nest app.
  2. Tap Settings Nest settings icon.
  3. Select Familiar faces.
  4. Tap the face you want to delete.
  5. Choose Forget this face and then Remove.

Delete or move specific photos

Note: This feature is only available in the Home app.

Move photos to another face profile

  1. Open the Google Home app .
  2. Tap Settings and then Nest Aware and then Familiar face detection.
  3. Select a face profile with photos that you want to move.
  4. Tap Edit Pencil icon / edit icon, then select any photos that you want to move together.
  5. Tap Move .
  6. Search and select a person saved in the familiar face library, or type in a new name to save the photos in a new face profile.
  7. Tap Yes to confirm your choice.

Delete photos in a face profile

  1. Open the Google Home app .
  2. Tap Settings and then Nest Aware and then Familiar face detection.
  3. Select a face profile with photos that you want to delete.
  4. Tap Edit Pencil icon / edit icon, then select any photos that you want to delete together.
  5. Tap Delete .
  6. Confirm that you want to remove the photos.

Erase the entire face library

You can permanently delete all face profiles from the entire familiar face library in the app.

  • This removes all faces from Nest’s face recognition algorithms for your account.
  • This also erases all camera snapshots used for identification.
  • If you have more than one home in your account and erase the familiar face library, it only applies to the home you’ve selected.

Home app

  1. Open the Google Home app .
  2. Tap Settings and then Nest Aware and then Familiar face detection.
  3. At the top right corner of the screen, tap Options.
  4. Tap Delete face library.
  5. Once you receive the confirmation pop-up, tap Delete.

Nest app

  1. Open the Nest app Nest app.
  2. Tap Settings Nest settings icon.
  3. Select Familiar faces.
  4. Scroll down and select Clear library. Then, select Clear library again to confirm.

Privacy and control

How Nest cameras and doorbells store face data

Older Nest camera and doorbell models that are set up in the Nest app store familiar face data to the cloud. To help protect user privacy, this data is encrypted and is not accessed by Google.

Newer Nest camera and doorbell models that are set up in the Home app store familiar face data locally in its internal memory.

To help protect user privacy, locally-stored familiar face data is also encrypted. For security reasons, the internal memory for these devices is not accessible or removable.

Age-restricted access for familiar face detection

Note: This only applies to people who manage home members in the Home app.

To help ensure privacy and safety, home members in the Home app who are under the age of 13 in the US (or the applicable age in your country) have limited access to the familiar face detection feature. This means:

  • They can’t change familiar face detection settings or access the familiar face library.
  • They can’t turn on familiar face detection when setting up a new camera with a Nest Aware subscription.
  • They can still check familiar and unfamiliar face events in the Home app and Nest app.
  • They can still receive familiar face alerts from the Nest app.

When a home member under the age of 13 (or the applicable age in your country) enters their date of birth into their Google Account, they are prompted to switch to a supervised account.

An email from Google will be sent to let them know that their access has changed.


(1) Nest’s familiar face detection feature is not available on Nest cameras used in Illinois. Certain state legislation may affect Illinois customers’ use of the feature, so we disabled it as a precaution. If the home where you’re using your camera is in Illinois, you shouldn’t be able to turn on familiar face detection in the Nest app.

Use familiar face detection in compliance with the law. Depending on where you live, you might need to get consent to have your camera help identify people visiting your home.

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