What is Nest Aware, and is it worth the cost?

Google is eager to sell their Nest Aware subscriptions to new Nest Camera buyers. But what is the science, and is it worth the money?

If you're interested in Google's Nest Cams or Doorbells for your smart home, you've probably mentioned some of Nest Aware, a paid subscription service that you can sign up for to enhance its features. So what do you get from a Nest Aware subscription and is it worth the recurring fee?

What is Nest Aware?

The primary benefit of a Nest Aware subscription is the extended recording history. By default, the Nest Camera only records three hours of event history, and an "event" is a short clip triggered by sound or motion. This is good enough if you're awake and close to your phone, but not for accidents recorded overnight or while you're in flight.

Aware's standard event log subscription is up to 30 days. Google sells an upgrade option, Nest Aware Plus, which extends to 60 days and adds 10 days of continuous video history if you need to watch more footage. Just be aware that not all Nest cameras support continuous recording and the main limitation is anything battery powered.

A primary feature of the Nest Aware subscription is the extended recording history.

The next biggest advantage is familiar face recognition. While the latest Nest Cam and Nest Doorbell batteries can use AI to trigger appropriate notifications between people, packages, animals and vehicles, savvy customers can teach their cameras to recognize individual friends and family. So instead of getting an alert that a "person" is at the door, you'll be told it's Roger, Lekisha or Stephanie.

What is less known about the Aware is that it enables smoke and carbon monoxide alarm sound detection not only via a wired Nest Cam, but (in the US) any Google smart speaker or display. The speaker and display can also trigger alerts when you hear the sound of breaking glass.

The Nest Hub can act as your own camera under Max Aware, if that suits you. This includes alerts when a person is seen, familiar or otherwise.

Lastly, Aware makes it easy for US users to contact a local 911 call center. For most people this doesn't matter, as you can always dial emergency services yourself, but it can come in handy if you're out of town—Google's "e911" technology can call you from your home. Connects to the nearest 911 dispatch, or more than one, where you are currently located.

How much does Nest Aware cost?

The standard US version of Nest Aware costs $6 a month or $60 a year, which saves you $12 a year, assuming you want to be a long-term customer. Any charge covers all Aware-compatible devices in your home, no matter how much you add. This is different from many other smart security software that charge you more than what you spend per camera.

Prices range from $12 per month or up to $120 per year if you opt for Nest Aware Plus. Unlimited camera support remains in place, even with continuous recording from multiple devices.

Is there a free Nest Aware trial?

Yes! When you create a new Nest Home or upgrade to the discontinued first generation Aware, you'll be offered a 30-day trial. Aside from these limitations, it's worth noting that tests are only offered where Aware is sold, more on that in a moment.

How to sign up for Nest Aware

You can sign up for Nest Aware or Aware Plus through the Google Play Store or the Google Home app on Android devices. In the second scenario, tap the Settings (gear icon) button, then select Nest Aware under Properties.

The following regions have access to Aware:
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Canada
  • Denmark
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Netherlands
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Kingdom
  • United States (except Puerto Rico)

As mentioned earlier, emergency calls and voice detection on the Google Nest speaker and display are for the US only. Familiar face recognition does not work with the Nest camera or doorbell in Illinois.

How to manage your Nest Aware subscription

The most common way is to go to store.google.com/subscriptions and sign in to your Google Account. There you'll find options to change your payment methods, cancel your subscription, or switch from Aware to Aware Plus (and vice versa). You may need to explore the menu to access some of the options.

If you subscribe to the Google Home app, you'll need to control Aware through the Google Play Store. After signing in, go to Billings & Subscriptions under your profile icon, and under the Subscriptions tab, select Manage next to Aware.

Generally, any Aware subscription will automatically renew (and bill you) until you cancel. The exception is the 30-day free trial, which requires payment to continue. Once canceled, Aware will remain active until the end of your current billing period, whether it is a month or a year.

Should you pay for Nest Aware?

It is possible, but there are two main criteria that must be met. First there is the need for comprehensive home security. If you work from home all the time and live in a safe neighborhood, you can easily beat the free program offered by some camera makers, even Google's three hours. There's no point in being aware if you're just checking packages or watching your baby.

Aware incident recording and facial recognition can make a real difference if you regularly live away from home and/or are at risk of serious crime. It's always better to catch the intruder in the act, but if you can provide video evidence there's at least a chance of the item being charged or recovered.

The second criterion is the commitment to the Google ecosystem, not just to cameras, but to the smart home platform as a whole. If you have the Amazon Echo Show as your smart display, you'll automatically get more from Alexa-compatible cameras. Likewise, if you already have cameras from companies like Arlo or Wyze, there's no point in complicating your system by adding a Google model, no matter what, paying for the Aware, which is for Nest hardware. is specific.

If you really need 24/7 security and are willing to rely only on Google, then Aware will be up to the bill.

The best Nest Aware-compatible devices

(1) Nest Doorbell Battery

In an age where people delivering everything from dinner to gym equipment and porch pirates pose a serious threat, it just makes sense to have a video doorbell. In addition to its Aware features, the Nest Doorbell battery can be plugged in if you don't want to charge it every few months, and it can record up to an hour of event footage after a power outage or Wi-Fi disconnection. Is. Just know that it doesn't support continuous recording with the Aware Plus, even with its wired setup.

(2) Nest Cam Battery

Although the Nest Cam's battery can be used indoors if you get a stand, it's really designed for outdoor use. It is waterproof and has a magnetic mount for easy installation and take out. Like the doorbell, the Nest Cam battery can record for up to an hour after losing Wi-Fi, but it doesn't record 24/7 with the Aware Plus.

(3) Nest Hub Max

The Nest Hub Max is essential to practically the entire Google smart home setup, especially if you have Nest Aware. It's a convenient way to view camera feeds, and the Max can function as its own camera, complete with object and voice recognition. When you're not paying attention, you can do things like listen to music and podcasts, stream videos, and control other smart home accessories.

(4) Nest Cam Wired

By itself, the wired-only Nest Cam isn't a great value compared to the competition. It becomes more attractive as part of a home with other Aware devices, though, because it's cheaper than the Nest Cam battery and you don't pay anything extra for its detection and recording features. You can mount it on a wall or place it on a flat surface, but it can only record indoors because it's not waterproof.