If you’re interested in Google’s Nest Cams or doorbells for your smart home, you’ve probably heard of Nest Aware, a paid subscription service that you can subscribe to expand its features. What does a Nest Aware subscription get you, and is it worth the recurring fee?
What is Nest Aware?
The main benefit of a Nest Aware subscription is the expanded recording history. By default, Nest cameras only record three hours of event history, where an “event” is a short clip triggered by a sound or motion. That’s enough when you’re awake and within range of your phone, but not for incidents recorded overnight or while traveling.
The standard aware subscription extends the event history to 30 days. Google offers an upgrade option, Nest Aware Plus, which extends that time to 60 days and adds ten days of continuous video recording if you want to see more footage. Note, however, that not all Nest cameras support continuous recording, with the most significant limitation being that they are battery-powered.
The main benefit of a Nest Aware subscription is the extended recording period. The second most significant benefit is the recognition of familiar faces. While the latest Nest Cams and Doorbell Battery can use built-in AI to distinguish between people, packages, animals, and vehicles and trigger notifications accordingly, Aware subscribers can teach their cameras to recognize individual friends and family members. So instead of receiving a notification that a “person” is at the door, you’ll be told if it’s Roger, Lakesha, or Stephanie, for example.
Less well known is that Aware enables audible detection of smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, not just through wired Nest Cams, but (in the U.S.) through any Google Smart Speaker or display. Speakers and displays can also trigger alarms when they hear glass breaking. The Nest Hub Max can act as its camera under Aware if you agree. This includes alarms when a person is seen, whether a known person or someone else.
Finally, Aware makes it easier for U.S. subscribers to contact a local emergency call center. This won’t matter to most people, as you can always dial 911 yourself, but it can be handy if you’re out of town – Google’s “e911” technology connects you to the PSAP closest to where you live rather than the one you’re currently in.
How much does Nest Aware cost?
In the standard U.S. version, Nest Aware costs $6 per month or $60 per year, though in the latter case, you save $12 per year, assuming you want to sign up for a long-term subscription. Both fees cover all Aware-compatible devices in your home, regardless of how many you add. This differs from many other intelligent security packages, where fees increase if you add more than one camera.
If you opt for Nest Aware Plus, prices increase to $12 per month or $120 per year. Unlimited camera support remains, even if multiple devices are continuously recording.
Is there a free Nest Aware trial?
Yes. If you’re setting up a new Nest home or upgrading from the outdated first-generation Aware, you’ll be offered a 30-day trial. Aside from these limitations, it’s worth noting that trial versions are only offered where Aware is sold – more on that shortly.
How to sign up for Nest Aware
The following regions have access to Aware:
United States (except Puerto Rico)
As mentioned, emergency calls and sound recognition on Google Nest speakers and displays are only available in the United States. Familiar face recognition does not work with Nest cameras or doorbells in Illinois.
How to manage your Nest Aware subscription.
The most common method is to visit store.google.com/subscriptions and sign in with your Google account. You’ll find options to change your payment method, cancel a subscription, or switch from Aware to Aware Plus (and vice versa). You should explore the menus to access some options.
If you subscribed through the Google Home app, you’d need to manage Aware through the Google Play Store. Once you’re signed in to the web, visit Payments and Subscriptions under your profile icon and select Manage next to Aware on the Subscriptions tab.
Generally, any Aware subscription will automatically renew (and bill you) until you cancel it. The exception is the 30-day free trial, where you must opt-in for payments to continue. When you cancel, Aware remains active until the end of the current billing period, whether a month or a year.
Should you pay for Nest Aware?
Possibly, but two primary criteria must be met. The first is the need for comprehensive security for your home. If you work at home all the time and live in a safe neighborhood, you can get by with the free event recording that some camera manufacturers offer, even Google’s three hours. Awareness doesn’t make much sense if you want to check on packages or watch your child.
If you’re out of the house regularly and there’s a severe threat of a crime, Aware’s event recording and facial recognition can make a real difference. It’s always better to catch intruders in the act, but at least there’s a chance of pressing charges or recovering goods if you provide video evidence. The second criterion is a commitment to the Google ecosystem as an innovative home platform, not just for cameras. If you have an Amazon Echo Show as your bright display, you will automatically have more Alexa-compatible cameras. Suppose you already have cameras from companies like Arlo or Wyze. In that case, it could be more logical to complicate your system by adding Google models and paying for Aware, which is only available on Nest hardware.
If you need round-the-clock protection and are willing to rely solely on Google, then Aware is for you. The best Nest Aware-compatible devices
Nest Doorbell Battery
A video doorbell makes sense in an age where people have everything delivered to them, from dinner to fitness equipment, and where front-door pirates are a severe threat. Aside from the Aware features, the Nest Doorbell Battery can also be hardwired if you don’t want to charge it every few months, and it can record events for up to an hour after a power or Wi-Fi outage. Note, however, that continuous recording is not supported with Aware Plus, even with a wired setup.
Nest Cam Battery
Although the Nest Cam Battery can be used indoors if you buy a stand, it’s meant for outdoor use. It is waterproof and has a magnetic mount that makes it easy to attach and remove outdoors. Like the doorbell, the Nest Cam Battery can record up to an hour after the Wi-Fi connection is lost, but it can’t record 24/7 with Aware Plus.
Nest Hub Max
The Nest Hub Max is a must-have for a complete Google Smart Home setup, especially if you have Nest Aware. It’s a convenient way to view camera feeds, and the Max can act as its camera, complete with object and noise detection. For example, when you’re not looking, you can listen to music and podcasts, stream videos, and control other innovative home accessories.
Nest Cam Wired
On its own, the wired Nest Cam doesn’t compare favorably to the competition. However, as part of a home with other Aware devices, it becomes more attractive since it’s cheaper than the Nest Cam Battery, and you don’t have to pay anything extra for its detection and recording features. You can mount it on the wall or place it on a flat surface, but it can only record indoors as it is not waterproof.