Google says that starting today, its Nest Hello video doorbell can send alerts when a package is waiting for you. The camera, which can already detect people, is given the option to check your door for packages, and it will automatically send alerts when one is noticed.
However, there is a snag: Google says that package detection can only be used by US Nest Hello users who have a paid payment Nest Aware subscription, which starts at $ 5 a month. With Nest Aware you can already set notifications for movement in specific zones, such as a cradle or a doorway; receive notifications for known (or unknown) faces that appear on the camera; and it gives you a 24/7 history of the video feed of your Nest. Package detection seems to be another feature that Google hopes that a subscription to Nest Aware will be worth the price.
If you already subscribe to Nest Aware, Google says that package notifications are enabled by default as soon as your Nest Hello receives today's update. You can also disable them in the Nest app if you want.
The ability to know when a delivery person will arrive with the package you have been waiting for is one of the benefits of a video-activated doorbell. But most doorbells cannot warn you if someone leaves a box; in the best case, it will feel like someone came by, and you have to watch a video clip to see more. Google solves that limitation with this update, which gives its camera a head start on competitors.
The package warnings from Nest Hello are not as ambitious as something like Amazon Key – with which couriers can deliver packages to a user's house, car or garage – but Key only works if you have purchased an item from Amazon. Google's alerts must tell you when a package has arrived, regardless of where it comes from.