What is Nest Aware and How Does it Work?

What's included in a Nest Aware Subscription

Nest Aware is Google Nest's subscription service for Nest Cam users. The subscription includes around the clock recording from Nest cameras and cloud storage of the footage.

Cloud-based services are common in the smart home technology market. Ring, for example, has a similar subscription service for their smart home products.

What Is Nest Aware?

Meant to complement Nest security cameras, Nest Aware is a live service that offers cloud storage for videos, 24/7 recording, and access to “activity zones,” which allows you to customize motion alerts.

For most people, the 24/7 recording and cloud storage are enough to justify the cost. Video footage is stored for review later and can be extremely beneficial. In the event of an emergency or something sinister, the video footage can serve as evidence or a point of reference.

Google Nest Cam Indoor sitting on mantle

There are three subscription tiers, the cheapest set at $5 per month ($50 per year). The mid-tier plan is $10 per month ($100 per year), and $5 additional per month for every Nest Cam added ($50 per year). The higher tier costs $30 per month ($300 per year), and additional Nest Cams are $15 more per month ($150 per year).

The cheaper plan allows you to store videos in the cloud for up to 5 days, the mid-tier offers up to 10 days, and the most expensive tier accommodates up to 30 days of video storage.

When you subscribe, it’s up to you to choose which tier you want, based on how much cloud storage you need for your security cameras.

Why Get a Nest Aware Subscription

If you don’t own Nest Security cameras, there’s no reason to subscribe to the service. Even then, if you’re okay with only a live feed surveillance system, then you can skip it.

Since the subscription offers cloud storage and 24/7 recording, those are the two most pertinent reasons why you would subscribe.

When you buy a new Nest Cam and sign-up for an account, you are generally offered a 30-day trial to the service for free.

The other feature introduced by Nest Aware allows you to designate “activity zones” that will trigger motion alerts. This is beneficial if you have a camera looking out over a wide area, for example, and you only want alerts for a particular region, such as your driveway or front door. By designating a zone, you can tune out passing cars, pedestrians, and other distractions.

Which Nest Devices Are Supported?

All of Google's Nest camera-based smart home devices work with the Aware cloud service, including the Nest Hello smart video doorbell.

What Can Nest Cameras Do Without a Subscription?

Nest Cams work just fine without a subscription and you don’t need one unless you want video footage or recordings stored for later. Out-of-the-box, Nest Cams will display a live or real-time feed that is accessible through the Nest platform, whether via the mobile app or desktop. 

Additionally, the service will deliver snapshots anytime the camera detects motion. They aren’t video-based, just photos, but it still provides a frame of reference. A camera facing the front door of your home, for example, will take a photo of someone walking up when it detects motion. That said, the snapshots are only saved for a maximum of three hours at a time and they won’t be viable proof or evidence during times where such a thing is necessary.

Realistically, if you have one or two cameras then subscribing to the Nest Aware cloud service is a good idea. The price, while not ideal, is not too expensive until you start adding more and more devices.

Ultimately, it’s up to you whether or not a Nest Aware subscription is worth the price. The trial for new customers should allow you to demo the service without spending anything, at the very least. You can also cancel an active Nest Aware subscription at any time and it will remain active for the remainder of the billing period.