FAQs on privacy: Google Nest

Last Updated September 9, 2019 | Archive

Nest and Google have come together as Google Nest. This Help Center article is intended to provide more details about how Google Nest connected home devices and services work, and how we collect and use data when you use these devices and services.

Expand all Collapse all

Information Google collects  

What types of data are collected when I use Google Nest’s connected home devices and services?

Google’s Privacy Policy applies to our connected home devices and services and it explains what information we collect; why we collect it; and how you can update, manage, export, and delete your information. Learn about our commitment to privacy in the home.

Categories of data collected

In addition to the data described in the Privacy Policy, when you use our connected home devices and services, we save:
  • Setup information you provide when you set up your account and any device using our apps, such as device name, device type, and information about your home, including your address, ZIP code, and where the device is placed.
  • Sensor data such as detected motion, ambient light measurements, temperature, humidity, carbon monoxide, and smoke levels. Visit Sensors in Google Nest devices to learn more about the information sensors send to Google, as well as examples of how that information improves Nest devices and services.
  • Audio and video data from devices with cameras and microphones, and information derived from this data, such as facial recognition information (if you set this up for a feature), and person, object, sound, motion or activity detection information, all subject to your permissions and settings (for example, we store your video footage if you choose to receive video storage services from Google for your Nest Cams).
  • Device usage data that includes:
    • Manual device interactions (such as manually adjusting the temperature on the Nest thermostat), heating and cooling usage data (such as when your heating or cooling system turns on and off), device state, settings, and features used.
    • Device usage data is also collected when a device is used with a Google service (such as Google Assistant, YouTube, Google Maps, Google Calendar, or Google Duo), or with a third-party service (such as Spotify or Pandora), such as voice or touch interactions, long presses on the device, or other device interactions or adjustments, including related device state, settings, and features used.
  • Technical data, like device make and model, serial number, IP and MAC address, Wi-Fi connectivity, signal strength and settings, detection of other devices on your network and nearby access points, hardware and software version, sensor status, battery charge level, log files from connections, power status, HVAC system capabilities, and other technical information such as crash, diagnostics, reliability and performance logs and reports.
More about data from your devices

Additional details about how specific Google Nest connected home devices and services collect data varies by device and how you configure your device, as described in this section. See How Google uses data to improve services section to understand how Google uses data across your connected home devices and services to enable helpful experiences.

Chromecast Learn more by going to:
Google Home Learn more by going to:
Google Wifi Learn more by going to:
Nest thermostats Setup information you provide

When you install a Nest thermostat, you’re prompted for information that will help your thermostat work correctly. For example, is your thermostat located in a home or a business, and what’s the ZIP code of the building? This information helps us customize your experience by, for example, retrieving weather information for your neighborhood. In addition, the Nest thermostat pulls information directly from your heating and cooling (HVAC) system, as applicable, to learn its capabilities — for example, does your system provide heating and cooling or heating alone? Answering these questions helps us set up an initial program that will keep you comfortable.

Data from device sensors

Google collects data from several sensors built into the Nest thermostat, such as current temperature, humidity, motion, and ambient light in the room. Those sensors can also sense presence in the room. This helps your Nest thermostat keep you comfortable when you’re at home and save energy when you’re away. For example, if the Nest thermostat senses that you’ve entered the room after an extended period of time, it can adjust the setting to a preferred temperature based on an assumption that you’ve just woken up or returned home. Similarly, if no one is moving in the room, the Nest thermostat may turn the temperature down to help save energy. This also helps enable features like Home/Away Assist to automatically switch the behavior of other Nest devices in your home based on when you leave and come back.

Nest Protect Setup information you provide

When you install Nest Protect, you’ll be asked for information like your home address or ZIP code, as well as where in your home you’re installing your device. This information helps to customize your experience by, for example, enabling Nest Protect to inform you where an event is occurring, or to better schedule features like Sound Check to run during certain hours of the day.

Data from device sensors

We collect data from several sensors built into Nest Protect, such as smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) levels, current temperature, humidity, and ambient light in the room. They can also sense whether something in the room is moving. By recording this information, Nest Protect can do things like detect smoke and CO in your home and warn you of danger. For example, if Nest Protect detects that smoke or CO levels are rising, it gives you a Heads-Up alert before the danger reaches emergency alarm levels and tells you what the danger is. Nest Protect 2nd Generation also contains a microphone, which enables Nest Protect to deliver certain enhanced features. Specifically, Nest Protect emits sound samples during a Safety Checkup or Sound Check that the microphone will capture to verify that the speaker and horn are functioning.

Nest Cam, Dropcam, and Nest Hello (collectively, “Nest Cam”) Setup information you provide

When you install Nest Cam, you’ll be asked for certain basic information like your camera name, camera description, home address, ZIP code, and the location in your home where you’re installing Nest Cam. This information is used to personalize your experience — for example, to tell you which device is triggering a notification.

Data from device sensors

We collect data from several sensors built into Nest Cam such as device temperature and ambient light in the room. By collecting this information, Nest Cam can know, for instance, whether it’s dark and it should turn on Night Vision.

Video and audio signals and data

When you enable the recording or streaming features of your Nest Cam, we process video and audio recordings from the device, subject to your instruction, configuration, and settings. This may include capturing and sending you portions of this data by email or analyzing the data to identify motion or other events. If you instruct us by setting up your camera and choosing to receive mobile notifications, we may process information from your Nest Cam to send you alerts when something happens. In addition, if you enable the recording features, we’ll capture, process and retain video and audio recordings from your device for the duration of your recording subscription period (for example, 5, 10 or 30 days), and you’ll be able to access those recordings using our services during that time.

In some regions, we process facial recognition data to enable familiar face alerts, subject to your instruction, configuration, and settings. If you choose to use this feature on your Nest Cam, we’ll process face images and underlying facial recognition data for the purpose of enabling your device to recognize familiar faces and to notify you of familiar and unknown people. Using the app and your account settings, you control whether this biometric processing occurs. Depending on where you live and how you configure the device, you may need to get consent to scan the faces of people visiting your home.

Saved and shared content

You may save and choose to share certain content like video clips, live video streams, images, captions, and comments for other people to access using Google services.

Data protection and privacy laws in your country may impose certain responsibilities on you and your use of Nest Cam. You’re responsible for ensuring that you comply with any applicable laws when you use Nest Cam. For example, you may need to display a notice that alerts visitors to your home that you’re using a Nest Cam and/or obtain their explicit consent, depending on the purpose and the means of your processing activities. Note in particular that recording and sharing clips that involve other people and/or scans of people’s faces may affect individuals’ privacy and data protection rights. When you use the Nest Cam with a Google Account, you’re also subject to these supplemental Nest Terms of Service.

Note that your camera will be accessible from any visual Assistant devices connected to your account. Additionally, some Google smart display devices that have cameras, such as the Nest Hub Max, may also allow you to optionally enable the camera to operate as a Nest Cam.

Nest Secure (including Nest Guard, Nest Detect, Nest Tag and Nest Connect) Setup information you provide

When you install Nest Secure, you’ll be asked for certain basic information such as home address, ZIP code, the location in your home where you’ve installed your Guard and Detect devices, and custom labels for those devices. This information is used to personalize your experience — for example, to tell you which device is triggering a notification or an alarm, or by enabling Home/Away Assist (or a similar feature) to automatically remind you to arm the Nest Secure system when you leave the house.

Data from device sensors

We collect data from several sensors built into Nest Secure devices. For example, Nest Guard can detect motion. And Nest Detect can detect both motion and whether a window or door is open or closed, depending on how you’ve set up the device in your home. These devices can sense whether something in the room is moving and then sound an alarm and/or send you a notification. Nest Guard has a microphone that you can turn on to use certain optional product features, such as enabling Google Assistant. Sensors also collect data such as device temperature and ambient light in the room.

Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max

Setup information you provide

When you set up your Google Nest smart display, you’ll be asked for certain basic device setup information, such as your home address and the room in your home where the device is located. You can also choose to set up the Google Assistant to receive personalized experiences, such as by setting up Voice Match or Face Match, and you can also choose to enable specific features such as using your Nest Hub Max as a Nest Cam, making Duo calls, and so on.

Data from device sensors

We collect data from several sensors built into our smart displays, such as capacitive touch signals and ambient light in the room. By collecting this information, Nest Hub Max can know, for instance, when and how to adjust the display to your home environment.

Video and audio data

We collect data from the microphones built into Google Nest smart displays, as well as the camera built into Nest Hub Max, subject to your permissions, configurations and settings. Nest Hub Max includes features that rely on sending audio recordings and video footage to Google to work—for example, Duo video calling or home monitoring with the built-in Nest Cam—as well as camera sensing features that enable you to personalize or control your experience without sending video or images from your Nest Hub Max to Google after setup.

Learn more: 

How Google uses data to improve services

How is data used across my connected home devices and services to enable helpful experiences?

Google’s Privacy Policy applies to our connected home devices and services and explains what information we collect; why we collect it; and how you can update, manage, export, and delete your information. Learn about our commitment to privacy in the home.

At Google Nest, our products use data from your connected home devices and services to make them more helpful to you. This means providing you Google services and experiences related to the connected home, improving and personalizing them and developing new ones, helping to maintain safety and security across Google services, and keeping you informed of relevant Google products, services, and updates.

Some examples of how we use data to make features and services more helpful:

  • Provide, improve & personalize the services: The temperature and humidity sensors in your Nest thermostats help keep your home comfortable while saving energy. Your Google Wifi network data helps optimize your Wi-Fi performance, and your device stats and usage data help improve your device’s performance and reliability.
  • Supporting useful features: Home/Away Assist uses activity sensors across multiple Nest devices in your home to automatically switch the behavior of Nest devices in your home when you leave and when you come back.
  • Developing new features: We aggregate data to develop algorithms or use it to troubleshoot and improve the performance, safety, and reliability of all our connected home devices and services. Examples include using temperature and humidity data from our devices to measure the impact of environmental conditions on battery life. We also used ambient light and temperature sensor data aggregated from thermostats from many customers to determine that direct sunlight can cause thermostats to think it’s warmer than it actually is, so we introduced Sunblock, a new feature, to help your thermostat adjust for this so it sets the correct temperature.
  • Working with first- and third-party devices & services: Multiple devices in your home can work with each other, share data, and respond to events — for example, your Nest Hub and Nest Hello video doorbell can work together to tell you when someone is at your door, and your Google Home device can also be used to control the temperature on your Nest thermostat. This makes it easy for anyone in your home to control these devices. Your device can also work in concert with Nest’s connected home services when you subscribe to them — for example, as a Nest Aware subscriber, you can opt in to relevant alerts from your Nest Cam. Subject to your settings, your device can also work with third-party devices (such as light bulbs or locks) and services (such as Spotify or Pandora).
  • Working with Google services such as Google Assistant: Various Nest devices, such as Nest Cam IQ Indoor, Nest Hub Max, and Nest Secure, allow you to enable the Google Assistant or other Google services on the device. Your device interactions via the Google Assistant or other Google services (such as YouTube) may be used to personalize your Google experiences, including to show you relevant ads. For example, the text of your voice interactions with the Google Assistant can inform your interests for ad personalization. You can delete past voice interactions with your Assistant at any time and can even turn off ad personalization across your Google experience.
  • Keeping you informed of Google products, services & updates: We might inform you of connected home services such as energy and home safety programs, and some of Google’s promotions will be personalized to you based on your use of Google’s services. But we’ll always respect your choice about whether or not you want to receive promotional emails from Google.

We’re always working on new ways to improve how you experience Google services. We’ll keep you updated on new experiences and product integrations Google offers, and if we change how your information is used, we’ll inform you of the changes and continue giving you appropriate means to manage your connected home information.

How do I turn off personalized ads?

Turn off ad personalization in your Ad Settings.

How can I better understand the limits on Google’s use of data from my connected home devices and services?

Read our commitment to privacy in your home where we’ve explained that for all our connected home devices and services, we will keep your video footage, audio recordings, and home environment sensor readings separate from advertising, and we won’t use this data for ad personalization. However, when you interact with your Assistant, the text of those voice interactions can inform your interests for ad personalization, as explained in more detail below. You can always review your Google settings to control the ads you see, including opting out of ad personalization completely.

In addition, Google has placed specific use limits on device usage data (such as your manual device adjustments) from certain Nest devices as well as location data collected via the Nest app. Here are more details:

Interacting directly with your Nest device without a Google service

If you interact directly with your Nest device (such as your manual thermostat changes) without using a Google service, your device usage data is not used for ad personalization. In other words, this device activity doesn’t have any impact on the ads you see. This specific limit on device usage data is true for the following Nest devices only that were historically used with Nest Accounts: Nest thermostats, Nest Cams, Nest video doorbells, Nest alarm systems, Nest door locks, and Nest smoke & carbon monoxide alarms.

Data processed as you interact directly (i.e., without using a Google service like the Assistant) with your Nest device isn’t accessible in My Activity, and turning off your Google activity controls doesn’t have an effect on the collection or retention of this data. That’s because we use this data for more limited purposes, and the data is core to how your connected home devices and services work. This data is deleted when you delete your account and is subject to Google’s account deletion practices.

Interacting with your Nest device via a Google service

If you use any Nest device with a Google service, we may use your activity data to influence the ads you see (e.g., when you say to your thermostat, “Hey Google, set my temperature to 70 degrees” or play a YouTube video on your Nest Hub). These Google services can include: Google Assistant (or the Works with Google Assistant program), YouTube, Google Maps, Google Calendar, Google Duo and the like. You can manage your ads settings, including turning off ad personalization completely, at ad settings.

Location data from your Nest app

Nest’s Home/Away Assist uses data from your activity sensors combined with your phone’s location (if you’ve given permission) to automatically modify the behavior of your Nest device when you leave or return home. To turn off use of your phone’s location to inform Home/Away Assist, use the Nest app.

Your location established by the Location History setting in your Google Account is not used by Home/Away Assist, nor is your phone’s location data collected by the Nest app used to establish Location History in your Google Account. In the future, as we integrate Nest and Google location services to provide new features, we’ll be transparent and give you controls to manage your location information.

I’m thinking of migrating from my existing Nest Account to a Google Account. How do I learn more?

Check out the What’s Happening with Google Nest FAQs, where you can learn more details. If you migrate to Google, your Nest data will be associated with your Google Account. Google will handle this data as described in the Google Privacy Policy and this Help Center FAQ page. You will also be subject to the Google Terms of Service, as supplemented by these Nest Terms of Service. If you’re based in the European Economic Area or Switzerland, unless stated otherwise in any additional terms, Google services (including the Nest services if you migrate) are provided by Google Ireland Limited, a company incorporated and operating under the laws of Ireland (Registered Number: 368047), and located at Gordon House, Barrow Street, Dublin 4, Ireland. This Help Center page also answers questions about accounts for the Nest app and explains the steps to follow to migrate your Nest Account to a Google Account.

If you don’t migrate your Nest Account to a Google Account, you’ll remain subject to existing terms and privacy policies of Nest Labs, Inc. listed here.

Sharing your information

When you use Google’s connected home devices and services, your data may be shared with third parties as explained in the Google Privacy Policy (and in more detail below). We also explain in this section how information is shared across your Google Nest connected home devices and services and among members of your Google Nest home.  

How can I manage or revoke other people’s access to the devices in my home?

You can add people to your Google Nest home, such as family members or roommates. Only invite people you trust because members of your home receive broad rights — they can add or remove devices, use and change existing device settings, link to other services in certain cases, and add or remove other members, including you.

Remember that guests with physical access to your home may be able to access and interact with your device; for example, they might adjust your thermostat, view video displayed on your smart display, or even interact with mic and camera buttons on the device. If you prefer that guests not use your device, you may want to consider putting it away when you have guests in your home.

Learn more about sharing devices:

Can I use both the Google Home and Nest apps?

Yes, you can use both the Google Home app (Home app) and Nest app with your Google Account to manage the devices in your home. For certain features and Nest devices, such as the Nest Cam, you’ll need to use the Nest app. For certain other devices, such as the Google Home, you’ll need to use the Home app.

If you have a home in the Home app, and you download the Nest app and sign in with your Google Account, you’ll be able to see your home reflected in the Nest app as well. When you’re the first home member to access the home using the Nest app, you’ll be asked to enter a ZIP code (if one doesn’t already exist) and accept ownership of the home.

How will my Home and Nest apps work together to improve my home experience?

If you use the same Google Account across the Nest and Google Home apps, over time, you’ll have a consistent view of your Google home and its members across both apps. Your data will be handled as explained in Google’s Privacy Policy and you’ll have certain controls and settings consolidated in the Google Home app. See Become a Home member on the Google Home app and Share devices in your home with other people to learn more.

Because both apps will show the same home, actions in one app will affect the home as reflected in the other app. For example:

  • If you’re a new user of the Nest app and sign in to the Nest app with the Google Account you use with your Home app, your existing Google home will be visible in the Nest app automatically, and your home across your Nest and Home apps will be linked.
  • You’ll need to use the Google Home app (not the Nest app) to manage the family members in your home, or to rename or delete your home.
  • If you’re the owner of a Nest home and another member of the home removes you via the Home app, then it will unlink all the Nest devices associated with your Nest home in the Nest app, and you’ll also lose access to the Nest home.
  • Supported devices that are added to a Nest home:
    • Become visible in the Google Home app under the same linked home
    • Are shared with all other home members for a designated home
    • Are accessible via your Google Assistant
What information is shared among multiple connected home devices?

If you have multiple devices in your home that use Google services, they can share certain information:

  • Locally, among Nest and third-party devices: Nest and third-party devices can directly share information to provide more helpful experiences, such as whether something in the room is moving, what devices in your home are playing content via Cast, temperature data, and the occurrence of smoke or carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Locally, between Nest devices and mobile apps on your phone: to enable content casting and related functionality, features like Home/Away Assist, and certain cases where your device may function like a border router for other Nest devices.
  • Among Google servers in the cloud: Google uses different storage systems for various home devices.

Learn how Nest products work together and learn how your Nest products connect to each other and the internet.

What data is shared when I use the services offered by Nest partners?

If you sign up for connected home services and programs offered by our partners — for example, energy or insurance companies — Google will share your personal information with your permission. When you use third-party services integrated with Google services, their own terms and privacy policies will govern your use of those services.

Your connected home and the Google Assistant

How can I use the Google Assistant with my connected home devices and services? Are my Assistant voice queries used to inform ad personalization?

When you use our connected home devices and services, we keep your audio recordings separate from advertising and don’t use them for ad personalization — but when you interact with your Assistant by voice, we may use the text of those interactions to inform your interests for ad personalization. Learn more about your data in the Assistant to review your Assistant activity and to turn off personalized ads completely.

How can I choose how much data the Assistant saves and manage that data?

See Choose what to share with your Google Assistant to learn about activity settings that affect data the Assistant collects and how to view and delete that data.

Exporting, deleting, and protecting your information

How can I access and download my data?

If you use Nest services with a Google Account, see Download your data for help downloading an archive of your Nest data.

How can I delete data associated with my use of Nest and Home devices?
What retention periods apply to my data?

You can read about Google’s data retention policies, which address how long it takes us to delete your information, including your Nest data. You can also delete your structures (homes) and remove home members or devices at any time by managing your settings in your Home app.

Note that certain Nest products continue to work without an account. If you use those devices and services without an account, including after deleting an existing account, you will remain subject to Google’s Privacy Policy, Terms of Service, and these supplemental Nest Terms of Service.

For example, after you delete your account, your Nest thermostat will still be able to control your heating and air-conditioning system, sense motion to determine whether to switch to Eco Temperatures, let you choose an automatic or manual schedule, and use other basic functions. It will also remember your Wi-Fi information. This means it will stay connected to the internet and continue to communicate with our servers. It may also receive software updates. The thermostat will send data and its originating IP address to our servers as long as it’s connected to the internet. If you don't want data logging and software updates to continue, you should disconnect your thermostat from your Wi-Fi network. You can go to FAQs about accounts in the Nest app to learn more.

How do I prevent sending certain usage and crash reports to Google?

When you have Help improve your device turned on (for Nest devices with this setting available), data usage and crash reports are sent to Google in the background, to help us troubleshoot problems and improve the services. See Chromecast / Google Home and your privacy.

To turn off sending reports to Google for the following devices and services:

How do I unsubscribe from marketing emails?

Open the marketing email you no longer want to receive and choose the unsubscribe link.

How can I delete my Google Account? How can I reset my Google Nest devices?
Was this helpful?
How can we improve it?