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Nest’s new camera uses the same facial recognition tech as Google Photos

And it costs $100 more than its predecessor.


Nest is releasing a new $299 indoor camera that can recognize faces using Google’s artificial intelligence software.

The Nest Cam IQ uses the same facial recognition technology as Google Photos to recognize faces and allow users to label who they are, so the user can know who was in a room when, according to Nest’s director of marketing, Maxime Veron.

Nest incorporated computer vision technology from its sister company for the first time last year when it released its outdoor camera, which is able to detect whether an entity in view of the camera is a person.

What’s being incorporated into the IQ is more advanced: It can distinguish between faces and remember faces that have been labeled by the user. It’s the same FaceNet technology used by Google photos to identify and organize faces found in images.

Computer vision is growing increasingly central to important Google products. In addition to its presence in Google Photos, which has gained half a billion users since its release two years ago, computer vision features are available in Google’s personalized artificial intelligence platform Assistant.

The software has also been updated to send fewer notifications that are more accurate.

“We think the way forward for security cameras is intelligence,” Veron said.

The IQ boasts other added features such as high definition video and costs $100 more than Nest’s other camera offerings, the Nest Cam Outdoor and Nest Cam Indoor, which will both stay on the market.

More new hardware is in the works after the IQ, according to a report in Bloomberg from March, including a new home-security alarm system, a digital doorbell and a cheaper version of Nest’s smart thermostat.

In addition to the new camera’s smart features, audio quality has improved. But what’s really interesting about the camera is how it handles facial recognition, something Nest’s other cameras don’t do.

When the camera sees a new face in a user’s home, it will notify the user through the mobile app associated with the camera and ask them if they recognize the person, giving them the option of labeling the face. When a labeled face reappears before the camera at a later time or date, a new photo may be taken by the camera and added to the file of images in the user’s app.

The facial identification feature is activated when a person enters a room, and may be reactivated by the subject walking across the room or making a dramatic movement. Faces that are not labeled are not stored.

Google said the feature is not being made available to consumers in Illinois, where laws governing collection of biometric data such as facial image data are stricter than in the rest of the country.

An Illinois resident sued Google last year over Google Photos allegedly violating state law by scanning her face without her consent when someone using the app photographed her.

Nest Cam IQ ships at the end of June.

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