Nest Uses Algorithms to Make Its Cameras a Whole Lot Smarter

It's easier than ever to tell when someone broke in to your house.


Nest has updated its outdoor camera’s software to make it easier to find videos of someone breaking into a home, trespassing on a lawn, or otherwise moving while the Nest Cam Outdoor is recording anything that enters its wide field of vision.

The update is called Sightline, and it uses a set of algorithms to find important moments in its archives. This is supposed to be much more convenient than before, as Nest Cam Outdoor users previously had to search through the recordings themselves. All hail the power of easy-to-download software updates for connected devices.


Nest limits this useful feature to a three-hour history for people who haven’t signed up for its Nest Aware subscription plan. For people who have signed up for that service, Sightline will send detailed notifications about where an activity occurred; whether it detected a person or some other type of movement; and automatically scans through the 2.6 million frames the camera records each day.

Nest’s cameras also use their owner’s smartphones to determine whether or not someone is home. This makes it easier for the system to know if it should send a notification about any activity it captures or if it will just bug people while they go about their days.

The cameras have already captured some insane scenes that Nest has shared with the world. Some, like a car driving into a pool, were staged. But others — like a bear destroying a bird feeder so it could eat — were legitimately captured by Nest Cam owners who shared the footage.

Oh, and the cameras have also recorded “UFOs” flying through the Arizona skies. Maybe Sightline will make it easier to catch those aliens — or random space rocks, which was the case in one famous video — in the act so more people can explore their mysteries.

This software update might seem like a small thing, but it will fundamentally change the way Nest Cam Outdoor users interact with their devices. That’s the glory of the Internet of Things: In addition to using internet connections to make life easier, companies can also release software that improves physical products without requiring anyone to purchase brand new devices to get new features.

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