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Smart Home

Canary security cameras get smarter with free person alerts

Canary home security cameras will soon be able to tell you when they see a person -- free of charge.

Chris Monroe/CNET
Canary

Canary, maker of the Smart Home Security Device and the Flex cameras, today introduced person alerts. The startup says it plans to add this feature for "all Canary users" for free (with no additional hardware needed) over the next six weeks.

Canary says it relied on machine learning to develop its person alert smarts. Your Canary cam won't be able to tell you who it sees, but it should be able to correctly distinguish between your neighbor's cat and a person. It's also supposed to send you an alert when it sees someone.

Nest, Netatmo and select other manufacturers already offer this functionality, but Canary claims it's the first to make person alerts available free of charge. The Nest Cam IQ Indoor and Outdoor cameras do make its person alerts feature free; Nest's more advanced facial recognition feature requires a subscription to the Nest Aware cloud service. 

Canary's two security cameras currently work with Amazon's Alexa (via Wink and IFTTT), as well as with Google Assistant. Canary customers expressed frustration over changes the manufacturer made to its free cloud service earlier in 2017. Canary has since reversed those changes, increasing video length to 30 seconds and again making night vision a free option for all customers. 

We'll plan to test out person alerts, so check in soon for updates.