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How to Access Your Google Nest Cam or Doorbell from Any Device

Google's new web app is perfect for Google Home and Nest users on the go: Here's how you can use it for free, from anywhere.

Tyler Lacoma Editor / Home Security
For more than 10 years Tyler has used his experience in smart home tech to craft how-to guides, explainers, and recommendations for technology of all kinds. From using his home in beautiful Bend, OR as a testing zone for the latest security products to digging into the nuts and bolts of the best data privacy guidelines, Tyler has experience in all aspects of protecting your home and belongings. With a BA in Writing from George Fox and certification in Technical Writing from Oregon State University, he's ready to get you the details you need to make the best decisions for your home. On off hours, you can find Tyler exploring the Cascade trails, finding the latest brew in town with some friends, or trying a new recipe in the kitchen!
Expertise Smart home | Smart security | Home tech | Energy savings | A/V
Tyler Lacoma
5 min read
A finger presses the Nest Video Doorbell on white stucco beside a wood door.

Nest's Doorbell comes with free cloud storage and is now available to use via web app.

Google

Even the simplest smart home cameras allow us to swipe open our phones and take a look at live views through the app. That's helpful if you get an alert about a package or human, and want to take a closer look yourself -- but it's still bound to the app you used for setup. Google's new "Google Home for web" app is here to fix that, and it looks like a new standard for home security.

App-bound security cameras create annoying limitations. What if your phone is charging somewhere else but you want to check a live view right now? What if your S.O. has the device with the right app but you're the one who wants to review a nanny cam or answer a video doorbell? Or maybe you're on vacation and your phone just isn't a convenient way to keep tabs on your home security.

Google's web app lets you access key features like live viewing and even two-way audio from a secure portal on the internet. You can tap into your Nest cameras, Nest video doorbells and other compatible devices directly from any connected computer, tablet or other handy screen. But the feature is still in testing, and enabling it may take a little work. Here's what to do.

1. Give it a try right now

The new Google Home app layout on a Nest smart display.

Update Google Home and make sure all your devices are connected before using the web app.

Google

First, visit the Google Home for web site from a common browser like Chrome, Firefox or Safari and see if it's already working. That's all we had to do! Google's web app worked automatically for us after a quick sign-in, connecting to our current Nest devices available on the Google Home app to the online portal without any trouble. If you've been keeping up to date with your Nest products and the Google Home app, you shouldn't have any problems and can skip down below to some of our tips on using the web app.

If visiting the web app doesn't work for you, here are a few steps to help you get it working.

2. Update your Google devices and app if necessary

If the Google Home for web site isn't functioning or some features are missing, your app or devices may be out of date. There's a round of changes you can make that should get everything working online. Check these steps and implement any you haven't already done:

  1. Ditch the Nest app and migrate all your devices to the Google Home app. Download the Google Home app, open your Nest app, and go to your Account settings to select Migrate to a Google Account. When you're finished, delete the Nest app.
  2. Set up old cams in the Google Home app if they didn't migrate over. If you can't set up a cam in Google Home, it won't be available on the web version of the app.
  3. Check your device app settings to make sure the Google Home app is updated to its latest version.
  4. Visit your browser settings and make sure the https://home.google.com/ site is allowed to access your computer's audio settings.
  5. If necessary, select Public Preview in Google Home for web and select Join Public Preview to unlock all beta features.
  6. Double-check you are logged into the same Google account that you use to manage devices in the Google Home app.

3. View your devices in the Cameras section

The Cameras section of the Google Home for web app.

Google's web app lets you access all your connected Google Home/Nest cameras at once.

CNET/Tyler Lacoma

Once logged in, you can view all active Google Home cams in the Cameras section. Each has its separate block in the web app, labeled with the name you chose in the Google Home app and several important bits of information:

  • Live video: Selecting this button shows you an immediate live view from your camera, just like in the app. Response will vary depending on your location and the quality of your internet connection.
  • Idle: This just means that the cam is not currently recording or showing a live view, the usual state for smart motion-detection cams. If it is recording, someone may be present to start a conversation with.
  • Off/on toggle: You can turn the camera entirely off (no detection or alerts) or on.
  • Battery life: This icon shows how much battery power is left on wireless devices.

4. Review events

A Nest cam view of a porch with the Google web app event history beside it.

You can check video events online and download them with Google's web app.

CNET/Tyler Lacoma

If you access the live view and then select on the camera to enlarge it, you'll see a new set of options appear in the web app. On the right side, you'll find a vertical timeline of any recent recorded events (plus thumbnail images) that you can view. When you select an event, you will see an option to download it permanently onto the device you're using.

5. Start an audio conversation

The Google Home web app showing mute buttons for audio.

You can use mics and speakers directly from the Google Home web app, although quality may vary depending on your internet.

CNET/Tyler Lacoma

At the bottom of the device's live view, you'll see an Audio button, which is automatically set to mute. To speak from the app, select it and the Microphone button on the left for full two-way audio. If your browser asks for permission to enable audio, say yes. You can mute these features again whenever you want. Again, quality will depend on your local internet connection.

6. Adjust your Google Home Automations

The automations section in the Google Home web app.

You can also adjust or turn off any routines you have in Google Home using the web app.

CNET/Tyler Lacoma

You can also access the Automations tab, which allows you to choose from preset routines or previously created routines. You can use these automations to set an Away mode you may have forgotten about. You can also set routines to simulate normal morning/evening activity when you're on vacation, or stop unnecessary routines to save energy.

Manage Google Home cams online

Google's Home web app is still in the early stages, so don't expect everything to work perfectly right now -- although we didn't run into any problems in our testing. Remember, Google's Nest cameras and Video Doorbells offer free cloud storage for 3 hours, giving you a window to permanently download important recordings (extendable with a Nest Away subscription).

Those features -- and some great design choices paired with Google AI -- have landed Nest cams key spots on our lists for the best video doorbells, and the best indoor home security cameras. As long as you don't mind cloud storage (Nest devices don't support local storage), they make excellent security cams and work with devices like the Nest Hub smart display.

To keep up on the latest home security cameras, take a look at our best outdoor security cameras. And if you're worried about recording people over a web app, you should stop by our guide on legally recording audio and video in your home.