What Is Google Nest and How Does it Work?

All about Google Nest's line of smart home devices

Google Nest is the company's line of smart home devices. In addition to the Nest Learning Thermostat, the line includes the Nest Hello Doorbell, Nest Hub, and Nest Cam.

Who Owns Nest?

In 2014, Google bought Nest, which added to company's Internet of Things portfolio. Since then, Nest has become a household name, due in large part to the ease of use of the smart devices. The company officially branded the Nest as Google Nest in mid-2019.

Google Nest Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat Learns from You

The Nest Learning Thermostat, which comes with a variety of colored rings to fit with your home’s décor, has an easy-to-read display. It can control your heating and hot water automatically.In just a week, the thermostat will learn how warm or cold you like your home throughout the day. When you’re at home, it will raise the temperature, and when you go out, it will turn it down, ultimately saving you energy. 

The device monitors your activity and builds a schedule based on this data. It will turn down your heating at night and raise it in the morning, so you wake up to a warm house. As you leave for work, the Nest thermostat will detect you’ve left using sensors and your smartphone location, and set itself to Eco Temperatures to save energy.

If you’re out of the home, but your children are on their way home, pick up your smartphone and adjust the temperature remotely via the Nest app.

More Than Just Environmental Controls

The latest version of the Nest Learning Thermostat allows you to control your hot water tank with its hot water schedule, all adjustable from the app. Forgot to turn off the hot water while you’re away? No problem. Got guests staying and need extra hot water? No problem. The Nest thermostat handles this for you.

The thermostat’s Energy History and monthly Home Reports show you how much energy you use daily and when. The report recommends how you can use less. When you set the temperature at an energy-saving level, the unit displays the Nest Leaf.

Another added feature to the latest Nest Learning Thermostat is Farsight. The thermostat will light up and show you the temperature, time or weather. You can even choose an analog or digital clock face. 

Working with the Nest Heat Link, the thermostat works with your boiler to control the heating and hot water. The Heat Link can connect with your boiler wireless or using your existing thermostat wires, then ‘talks’ to the thermostat to modulate heat.

The Nest app connects via WiFi, allowing you to control the temperature of your home remotely. 

Google Nest Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detection

Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector

Google Nest Protect is a smart home smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detector that communicates with you via your smartphone so that you immediately know if there is a problem.

Nest Protect features a Split-Spectrum Sensor, which is the technology used by Nest to detect a wide range of smoke events, including smoldering fires and fast flaming fires. The device also tests itself automatically to ensure accuracy, and it lasts for up to ten years. It includes an alarm you can silence from your phone remotely. A human voice provides early warning if there is a smoke event and tells you where the danger is so that you can act accordingly. 

Nest Protect also features a carbon monoxide detector that protects your family from this colorless, odorless gas.

Google Nest Indoor and Outdoor Cameras

Nest Cam Indoor camera shown sitting on a mantle.

The Nest Cam family of cameras that can be used indoors or outdoors mean you won’t miss a second of what goes on in and outside your home. The Nest Cams plug into the main power supply and come with all-glass lenses for close-up tracking view. 

The cameras have some useful features, including:

  • The ability to distinguish people from objects.
  • The system can send you alerts if someone activates the camera.
  • It can scare off intruders or allow you to have a conversation with friends and family members.
  • Face recognition alerts you to familiar faces and strangers.
  • 24/7 cloud storage gives you thirty days of recorded video history, with the ability to create and share clips.

Google Nest Compatible Devices

Nest is also interoperable with a variety of other smart home products through its Works with Google Assistant program (formerly Works with Nest). For broader home automation, a Google Nest-compatible smart home hub can help you connect Nest with other non-Nest products.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does the Nest Temperature Sensor work? With Google Nest Temperature Sensors, you can measure and set temperatures for different areas of your home. You don’t need a temperature sensor to use the Nest Thermostat, but if you install the Nest Thermostat in an out-of-the-way location, a temperature sensor can help keep your home comfortable.
  • How does the Nest schedule work? The Auto-Schedule feature is automatically turned on when you install Thermostat E and Nest Learning Thermostats. With Auto-Schedule, after a few days, your thermostat learns what temperatures you prefer at certain times, and it creates a temperature schedule based on these preferences. The Nest Thermostat uses the Savings Finder feature to create temperature schedules.
  • How does the Google Nest Hub work? Google Nest Hub has Google Assistant built-in, making it easy to check-in and control Google devices in any room. You can also use the Nest Hub to watch YouTube, play music, perform Google searches, access your calendar, check outside air quality, and more.
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