Google's new Nest Cams and Doorbell are smarter and more flexible than ever

Easier to install, smarter, and less liable to send you superfluous notifications.

Google Nest Camera

Google’s unveiled three new IP cameras and a new doorbell for its Nest range of smart home gear. Each promises smarter notifications, ease of installation, and increased peace of mind. Whether or not that’s enough to win you over, likely depends on how you feel about voluntarily rigging your abode with smart cameras, and how much you trust Google. That said, at least it’s not Amazon-owned Ring, right? Right.

Say cheese! (And please identify yourself).Google

Ding dong — First up, there’s the new battery-powered Nest Doorbell. Google’s widened the built-in HDR camera’s field of view so you can see people head to toe, or objects on the floor as close as eight inches from it. Though it can operate on battery power alone, the new Nest Doorbell can also connect to existing wiring, or be independently wired, and Google’s offering a range of optional accessories to do so, or to allow for all sorts of mounting scenarios. Using battery alone, Google says the doorbell should last at least a month on a charge if you get a lot of activity, or as much as six months if you don’t.

But what Google’s really keen to plug is the Nest Doorbell’s smarts. It can provide four kinds of alerts by default, each of which is rather self-explanatory: animal, package, person, or vehicle. Users can also create “activity zones” and the device will store up to three hours of “events” locally (Google says that’s roughly a week of activity for most users), even if your power or internet goes out, and without you needing to pay for a Nest monthly subscription.

The new Nest Doorbell comes in “snow,” “linen,” “ash,” or “ivy.”Google

As you’d expect, you can view the doorbell’s camera feed from your phone or Google Nest displays, and you can hear audio and respond. A ring of light around the doorbell button illuminates automatically when someone approaches it, so there’s no missing it. The device goes on sale on August 24 for $179.99 and is available for pre-order today.

I always feel like... — Next up, there are three new Nest cameras: the Nest Cam (Battery), Nest Cam (Wired), and Nest Cam with Floodlight, the last of which promises to only turn on its light at appropriate moments, rather than, say, when a car drives by in the street.

The Nest Cam with Floodlight.Google

The battery-powered Nest Cam is Google’s first indoor-or-outdoor smart camera, and like the new Nest Doorbell, is priced at $179.99 and arrives August 24. Like the doorbell, that battery-powered Nest Cam can store content locally if necessary and can also be hard-wired.

The wired Nest Cam is Google’s cheapest yet at $99.99, while the Nest Cam with floodlight ($279.99) is the first to include its own illumination. All of the cameras include the same smart alerts as the Nest Doorbell, and all of the new devices support Nest Aware, a subscription service that allows for cloud-based storage of longer recordings and tools like facial recognition that’ll alert you if the cameras spot a face that you haven’t told them to expect.

Google’s new Nest Cam (Wired) in the “fog” colorway.Google

How long not how much — Google’s added some thoughtful additions, like the ability to use the indoor cam’s base vertically or horizontally (say, on a countertop or mounted to a wall), new finishes to make them blend in better with your decor, and the ability to see how long battery-powered devices will last in months, weeks or day (rather than the remaining percentage of charge).