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Smart Home

Nest app update delivers free camera storage to the masses

Nest's app overhaul gives all users 3 hours of free cloud storage, but that's not all.

Now Playing: Watch this: Nest takes it outdoors
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Not only did Nest announce US retail availability of its outdoor security camera today, it also released a software update with some significant improvements for the just-launched Nest Cam Outdoor, as well as the existing Nest Cam Indoor and Dropcam Pro.

Up until this point Nest, a startup now owned by Google/Alphabet, has been a hold-out in terms of free cloud storage. Its Nest Aware service allows customers to pay $10 or $30 per month for 10 or 30 days, respectively, of continuous cloud storage history.

But not everyone wants to shell out additional money for this feature. That's especially true when a growing number of DIY security brands are offering short-duration cloud storage for free. Icontrol's Piper Classic and Piper NV let customers save as many as 1,000 event-triggered clips for free. Homeboy, Netgear's Arlo and Arlo Q cameras and plenty others are making limited, rolling cloud storage a part of their features, too.

Nest's new Person alerts.

Nest

Now Nest is going to give customers 3 hours of free cloud storage. No, it isn't a ton of time, but it's a significant step for folks who want advanced features without paying a monthly fee for them. Instead of 3 hours of continuous storage, though, you'll instead get access to sound- and motion-related activity. And rather than a video clip of that action, you'll only get a timeline of how long the event lasted and a static image from the event. Still, it's better than nothing.

This is all part of Sightline, a new Nest feature that's supposed to help customers sift through everything the camera sees to find the action that matters most. As you'd expect, Sightline has even more features if you're a Nest Aware subscriber. Here's a quick rundown of what Sightline plans to offer Nest Aware customers:

  • Time-lapse videos of events
  • Still images of important moments -- the Nest algorithm supposedly decides which moments are most important and then selects the most suitable image to showcase those moments
  • Activity zones

In addition to Sightline, Nest's alerts have expanded to include Person Alerts. While it can't identify who it sees like the ArcSoft Simplicam or the Netatmo Welcome, it is supposed to let you know when it thinks it sees a person and when it's sure it sees a person.

Maxime Veron, Nest's director of hardware product marketing, walked me through these features with footage from his own home and it looked pretty enticing. We'll test it out for ourselves soon enough, so check back soon for our first impressions.