I don’t know about you. But if I hear something moving in my backyard at night, I’d want to check it out. I’m not going out there, though, which is where outdoor security cameras with night vision come in. They are designed to show you what is happening without the need of you physically going out there. There’s also the added advantage of scaring away unwanted visitors like small animals using lighting and even sirens. But this is often reserved for floodlight cameras. While they won’t necessarily prevent a crime from happening, outdoor cameras have real security benefits, chief among them the ability to monitor your home.
There are several standout brands when it comes to outdoor security cameras. Google’s Nest Cam products rank among the best alongside Ring and Arlo products. Not only owing to their easy compatibility with other Google Home products, but also their simple design, ease of use, as well as free person, vehicle, and animal detection.
The Nest Cam also supports night vision, enabling the device to see and capture clearer images of activities happening out there at night. This is an important feature for any outdoor security camera. Otherwise, it becomes a security risk when you cannot see a clear face of the person who broke into your house while you were out for a late night drink. And it’s quite unfortunate that this is what Google Nest Cam users have been grappling with for about 5 months now.
How it started
In early June, Google rolled out an update to the Nest Cam that introduced firmware version 1.67, up from version 1.65. This is when the night vision bug started. Google knew the kind of security risk this issue posed, so they quickly acknowledged and even rolled out a fix to address it. The company also shared the image below showing the improvements before (left) and after (right) the update.
However, the image above was clearly not captured at night, which is what needed improvements. The update did improve HDR and other image quality issues, but it didn’t address the key problem. This got many people furious, especially since night vision was working fine on v1.65. Unfortunately, there’s no way to stop Nest Cam updates. They happen automatically. Furthermore, you cannot roll back to the previous version that worked fine.
Nest Cam v1.69 update ruined night vision even more
Rather than fully address the night vision bug, I keep bumping into fresh reports on the Nest community and Reddit from concerned Nest Cam owners that the update to v1.69 never fixed it. Instead, it made things even more worse. Below is an image capture on the latest v1.69 (top) and the previous v1.67 (bottom) as shared by SuperAdam in the Nest community forum.
Google did improve Nest Cam HDR image quality during the day with v1.69, but night vision looks fuzzy and grainy on both updates. What started as just another bug that would be fixed soon after has now evolved into a huge security concern for Nest Cam owners.
Nest Cam night vision bug is a huge security threat
Google often gets away with some questionable decisions with their products and services. Pixel phones can be the best when things work, but we have documented strange quirks that sometime take long to fix. The story is also the same with Google Nest smart speakers and displays. There are just so many little bugs that Google hardly ever fixes. Or if they do, it takes time. But this isn’t one of those bugs, because it’s about personal safety and security.
The Nest Cam is supposed to show you who is at your front or backyard trying to steal your bike or break into your house at night or when not at home. It’s not just some device to read a text from an old friend, or grab a photo of your pet. It’s a security device and when it comes to personal security, there’s no taking anything for granted. By taking 5 months to address such a glaring glitch, Google has put the safety and security of millions of people who trust their Nest Cam products at risk.
Up to this point, there are several options. The easy but expensive way out is to switch allegiance to other brands. But a class action lawsuit is also an option to ensure Google takes such matters seriously. Although this will obviously take ages. However, I think Google just needs to get their act together and quickly fix what is a very huge security problem that has been ongoing for far too long.
Featured image: Google
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