Last Update: Fri Aug 05 15:39 EDT 2016
This is an early draft. It will take better shape as I find time.
The Nest Camera is a good idea, and the hardware is very good. But the software is amateurish at best.
Today is July 19, 2016, I came home and forgot to turn the cameras off manually. After inside, I changed "Away" to "Home" and waited on my phone. The cameras did not turn off. I waited. I checked that my phone had indeed connected to my home network, so it should be even faster. I had. Still the cameras did not turn off. So I went and started composing this. Sometime, five mintues or more later, the cameras turned off. This is unacceptable!
On top of this, several months ago, Nest advertised that they could now turn off/on the cameras based on whether a specific device was home or away. Great, I thought. So I tried it. A few times it seemed to work promptly, but I soon noticed that it was apparently not working.
I logged a support call by web site (email) and got a reply that it could take several hours for it to determine whether you are home or away! Unacceptable!
Here is a copy of their email confirming a possible several hour delay (!!!):
Hi John, Thank you for writing in about how the new Home/Away Assist feature isn't working properly for you, and I'll be happy to help. I definitely understand how it can be frustrating when things don't work as they should, so let's try some troubleshooting to see if we can fix this. The first thing I'd like to note is that this feature can take anywhere from a few minutes up to a few hours to activate Away Mode on your Nest Thermostats, depending on your home. With that said it should take your Nests out of Away Mode either a few minutes before you get back or soon after you walk in the door. If the feature still doesn't seem to be working properly even when you've been away from home for a few hours, I'd recommend taking a look at all the troubleshooting steps offered in this article: Troubleshooting Home/Away Assist This article may also help you make sure you have your settings correctly set for this feature: How to change Home/Away Assist settings I hope this helps, John. If you have any further questions just let us know. Thanks again. If we haven't resolved your issue, reply to this email or give us a call and mention your case number 02009922. Please visit nest.com/help for the Nest Support phone number in your region. - Jeremy W. | Nest Support support icon Nest Support ref:_00D40Mlt9._50040vW4sy:ref
I just noticed that the response named thermostats (which I do not have, and will not buy at this point), not cameras. So whoever responded it, got that wrong too.
I logged a follow up inquiry a week or more ago (today is 7/19/2016) asking if the above was fixed yet. I have not heard back yet. It looks like I won't now. (so my complaints now go on line, for ever more...)
I wrote back saying that I could not use it, and to let me know when they had fixed their bug. I have not heard back yet. (Now 7/2016 after three or more months).
I have over the last few months (7/2016) read that Nest inside Google is having lots of issues. Well, I can tell you that the software is NOT UP TO GOOGLE STANDARDS for sure! e.g. see Google's Nest May Be In Trouble
I also note that turning on the home/away by device is a too obscure overlap of conflicting preference settings. Obviously, multiple groups wrote each piece of the code and it is improperly integrated. Get with it Nest/Google!
Today is August 3, 2016. About a week ago there was a software upgrade for my Nest App on the Android platform. I upgraded.
Things are now very broken!
The next time I used it (I have to use Away/Home manual triggering, see above) I saw some immediate notification alerts on my phone. Since the alerts in these messages are outside the Nest App itself, and never have displayed the time progress bar for some reason, and sometimes didn't seem to work at all, I did what I usually do and opened the Nest App, clicked on the indicated camera view, then History, and found... NO HISTORY! I looked at the pop up notification, indeed there was a notification. I clicked on it and there was one. When it closed, the pop up notification was gone, as expected. I went into the Nest App again, and still no record of the notification. So this new version is very broken!
The same thing happened the second day, and every day since. Immediate alerts don't appear in the history list. What's with that? Once in a while one gets logged, but how can you call this a FEATURE?
Until I upgraded, I got logged incidents of the mailman leaving mail. I have gotten such mail every day and don't get it on video any more. What is with that? It is horribly broken!
Tonight, on my way home from a long day, I was 40 miles away in the car heading home. I put my phone in a dash mount, opened the Nest App, clicked on Home from Away, and it WOULD NOT TURN OFF MY TWO CAMERAS! I waited a long time. Then started toggling between Home and Away. Nothing. Eventually, about 15 minutes into this, it turned off the cameras. HOW POOR ARE THESE NETWORK PROGRAMMERS? This is a Google product! You would never know it! It wasn't working properly before the recent upgrade, and now it is just totally off the wall broken!
The above article indicating that the Nest Cam group is really in trouble (see above: Google's Nest May Be In Trouble ) sure looks true to me.
My yearly contract on these two cameras is coming due very soon this month. $150 for a year. Since they offer ZERO PEACE OF MIND and they cost me $200 each (I have 2) paid $150 for online for the first year, and am about to waste another $150... wouldn't I be better off with a couple $45 cameras and cloud software from a competitor... that works?
I also reiterate that the hardware seems like it would be okay if only the programmers knew how to write code that works, and it needs a skilled program manager to get them to clean up the confusing, overlapping, convoluted interface of how to trigger them for home/away, motion and or sound, locked to a set of devices or not... There is no way to tell when they are properly configured to give reliable surveillance, which defeats the entire purpose of them, and the entire cost of owning them in the first place.
IF YOU WANT AN EASY TO SET UP AND ROBUST, DEPENDABLE SURVEILLANCE SYSTEM, NEST CAM IS NOT WHAT YOU ARE LOOKING FOR BASED ON MY EXPERIENCE!
Somebody left another message from Nest on my answering machine while I was out. Sound quality is that of a 50 cent phone. As far as I could tell, no call back number. His name is Sean, I think.
Somehow, during the upgrade to my Android phone, Activity got unchecked in Activity and Sound choices for alert. One major complaint solved.
They will be coming out in the not too distant future with a new interface for Nest products. Hopefully, this will solve some of my complaints about convoluted and overlapping configurations that make it confusing on what really will happen when events are triggered.
They are at a loss as to why it can sometimes take 10 minutes for Home/Away to trigger.
I learned that a device being home or away is not whether it is connected to your local network or not, but actually based on a GPS location and a distance, determined by some combination of cell tower location triangulating, and maybe GPS chip. For some reason that can still take a lot of time to recognize you are home. I can't use that. It is a bad implementation, and/or a bad algorithm. They need to do better.
I reiterate, emphatically: I currently tell people Nest Cam is NOT READY for most users yet. And may never be. I tell people not to buy them for now.
Google, are these your best programmers at work???? If so, how far you have fallen.
I note that someone from Nest Support finally did call me and leave some long voice message on my land line the other day. Sorry, we are doing this here now. You waste enough of my time with your alphaware product, the world is now watching. He did promise to follow up with an email message. I note that it has been more than a day and I have no such email. Their string of poor service continues to ring true!
As a reference point, I was in IT Support for many years supporting mainframes, minicomputers (DEC, Sun, VAX, HP, NeXT, ...) and have a Ph.D. in Theoretical Chemistry with a research career prior to that... so you can believe me when I say this product is badly programmed, and its features simply are not working as expected. A product like this HAS TO WORK AS EXPECTED 100% of the time, or is is worthless.
One more note. As part of my IT career at a major University, I attended multiple Sun Microsystems Education Research Conferences in the San Francisco Bay area. Scott McNealy was always the keynote speaker, and I had the pleasure of bumping into some fellow named Eric Schmidt who also spoke at many of them. I'm getting close to reaching out to him with my complaints about this Google product.
Keywords for the Google Search Engine: Nest Camera, sucks.