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Safety & security

5 hidden Google Nest Cam settings you need to use

Having a personal butler at your front door is convenient, especially if you are worried about safety and security. But few can afford to employ an Alfred or a Belvedere. As an alternative, many have been turning to Google Nest’s smart cameras and doorbells.

The rather extensive range can show you what is going on in and around your property and alert you of any strangers lurking in the bushes. As Google expands on the technology, so are Nest’s functions. Tap or click here for 15 tech tricks you’ll wish you knew sooner.

There isn’t always a manual for what is new, what has changed, or which features come in super handy. Luckily, we have come up with five hidden Google Nest camera settings you need to use with your devices.

1. Share a Nest Cam video feed

A great feature of Google Nest Cam, especially if you are concerned about the safety of others, is the ability to share a video feed. This allows more people to keep an eye on things, like children checking up on their parents.

RELATED: Check out our comparison guide to find the best home security system

There is one thing that you must keep in mind, though. Do not set it up with a public link. If you do, anybody on the internet will be able to view the feed. The most secure method is to use the option for a password-protected link.

Only the people with the direct link and the saved password will be allowed to view the video feed. It can be watched by up to 10 people at the same time.

2. Set up an activity zone

If you need to watch a specific part of your house or yard, the best thing to do is set up an activity zone. Detecting movement in these zones, the Nest Cam sends you an alert and timestamps the activity in the video playback.

It’s better suited for outdoor cameras, but you can set up custom zones for detecting any motion. Up to four zones can be set up per camera, and you can customize the shape, size, color and name.

Note: To create Activity Zones, you need a trial or paid Nest Aware subscription.

Here’s how to create an activity zone:

  • Open the app and select the camera that you want to make an Activity Zone for.
  • Tap Settings.
  • Select Activity Zones.
  • Tap Create Zone. The new zone appears in the middle of the screen.
  • Turn your phone to go into landscape mode for a full screen of your camera’s view. Make sure the screen rotation setting on your phone is on.
  • Tap and drag inside the zone to move it.
  • Tap and drag any of the 8 points on the sides of the zones to change their shape.
  • To change the color of the Activity Zone, click one of the colored circles on the bottom of your screen. You can pick from four different colors.
  • Tap the pencil at the top of the screen to give your zone a descriptive name. Tap the Checkmark to save the zone name.
  • Once you’ve given the Activity Zone the shape, color and name you want, tap the Checkmark to save the zone. 

3. Nest Hello doorbell

The activity zones also work with the Nest Hello doorbell, which will alert you to any package deliveries. But the best feature is that it recognizes familiar faces and immediately shows you who is at your front door.

When the doorbell rings, Nest Hello will show you a short HD video of who it is and will keep a recording of the view for up to three hours. The camera has been fine-tuned to show you the person from head to toe, so you can be sure that opening the door is safe.

Want to surprise a friend at the door? Nest Hello will let you if it’s a stranger or a familiar face — even if they didn’t ring the bell. Note: You would need a subscription to Nest Aware for the package delivery alerts to work.

4. Add Google Assistant

If you have a Nest Cam Indoor or Nest Guard, why not add a Google Assistant? Functioning very much the same as Google Assistant on your mobile device, you can control your smart home through it.

RELATED: Google Assistant: 5 useful tricks to try

Pair it with your Nest thermostat and you can control the temperature through it. Need to know what the weather will be like? Just ask your Nest Cam Indoor. You can also ask Google Assistant to show you a live video feed on your television of any Nest cameras you have set up.

Just know that there are some things that you can’t do on the Nest Cam Indoor or Nest Guard through Google Assistant.

5. Activate Home & Away Assist for added security

Going on vacation and want to create the appearance of someone being home? Nest’s Home & Away Assist will make your life much easier. The idea behind the functionality is that all Nest devices connected to your system automatically change their behavior depending on the setting.

Cameras will activate or deactivate once everybody leaves the house or someone comes home through presence sensing and phone locations. Other devices that can be configured include Nest thermostats, smart lights and plugs, and smart switches.

To use your phone’s location with Home & Away Assist:

  • Open the Nest app.
  • Tap Settings.
  • Select Home/Away Assist.
  • Select What decides if you’re home.
  • Tap Use phone location.
  • Tap the gray switch to expand the menu. This will show a list of all the people with shared control of your Nest home.
  • Select your name.
  • Select the switch to let Home/Away Assist use your location data.

If you want specific things to switch on or off, you can set that up too.

  • Open the Nest app.
  • Tap on Settings.
  • Select Home/Away Assist.
  • Tap either the Home or Away icon at the top of the screen.

This will display a summary of what each device is currently set to do with the mode selected. To make any changes, tap on the Nest product you’d like to control.

The Home & Away Assist can be triggered through your phone’s location, but it can also be activated through Home & Away Routines. For this, there are three options: automatically with presence sensing, through the Google Home app, or with a voice command to Google Assistant.

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