Google took the stage in New York City today to tout its upcoming line of hardware products, most notably its Pixel 4 smartphone. But while the oft-leaked phone garnered most of the attention, the company’s upcoming smart home and home security plans deserve a closer look as well.
In short, Google’s Nest Aware subscription plans are getting a significant makeover in early 2020 to make pricing simpler and, potentially, more attractive to smart home users. The big change from current Nest Aware plans is a whole-home pricing model, where monthly rates range from $6 to $12 and don’t increase as you add more Google Nest devices to your home. Original plans ranged from $5 to $30 per month depending on how long you wanted to store recorded video footage — and those prices increased as you added cameras. The new plans let you add as many devices as you want from the company’s line of cameras, video doorbells, speakers, and smart hubs.
|Current Nest Aware plans||2020 Nest Aware plans|
|Pricing||$5 to $30/month per camera||$6 to $12/month per home|
|Video history||5/10/30 days of 24/7 video history||30 days of event video history
60 days of event video history and 10 days of 24/7 video history
Those new plans, dubbed Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus, also add event-based recording into the mix, in addition to the existing continuous, 24/7 video history. Google said this system detects unusual activity like a person walking by your front door and saves that footage to the cloud. That should make retrieving footage later on a bit easier than sifting through hours of continuous video. For those who still want 24/7 coverage, the $12/month Nest Aware Plus plan will offer 10-days of continuous video history in addition to 60 days of event video coverage (compared to the standard plan’s 30 days).
In addition to the whole-home pricing model, the new Nest Aware plans will also offer emergency calling and sound detection (in the US only). Google said the emergency calling feature should connect you with the closest call center based on the home address you’ve added to the Google Home app, which should make it easier to call the most appropriate 911 services when you’re on the road. Meanwhile, the sound detection works via Google Nest speakers and hubs and can send you mobile alerts if it hears the smoke or carbon monoxide alarms going off. On stage, Google Nest VP Rishi Chandra said this feature can turn traditional smoke detectors into smart devices.
Existing Nest Aware subscribers should be able to migrate to the new plans once they’re live in early 2020. And if you upgrade to the new plans with time still remaining on your existing one, Google said you could get a prorated refund for the difference.
The new pricing is a sensible move for Google, as it offers a compelling incentive to stay within the company’s ecosystem, including the just-announced $49 Nest Mini. Moving away from the per-device pricing should make it easier for consumers to dip their toes into Google Nest-branded smart home and home security tech — and then dive deeper with more devices later if they choose to. Of course, having all your home tech under one company’s umbrella raises some significant privacy concerns, so we’ll be keeping a close eye on how committed Google will be to ensuring your data is safe.