On August 27th, 2019, Google announced a new feature for its smart doorbell: the Nest Hello. This feature, known simply as “package alerts,” automatically gives you updates on packages left at your doorstep. These alerts tell you when a package has been delivered and when it has been picked up.
This is a feature that Hello owners have been wanting for some time now, especially since package theft is on the rise, with one in four people being victims. The new package detect feature will help individuals be more aware of the status of their packages and possibly even catch exactly when a package is stolen.
Aside from security, it’s also a great way to stay connected with your online orders and get more use out of your smart doorbell. While this feature is enabled by default, it’s exclusive to Nest Aware subscribers, so you’ll have to sign up for the $5/month fee to use this new feature.
How It Works
Nest Hello distinguishes between packages and other items within its field of vision in two ways: first, it is capable of detecting when a person approaches your doorway. After a person comes by your door and leaves, Hello scans for a package.
Specifically, your Nest Hello is looking for a box that is at least 8″ x 10″ x 1″; anything smaller than that, and the camera will ignore it. In other words, so long as your package is bigger than a standard shoebox, you shouldn’t have any issues being alerted.
Once the package is detected and an alert has been sent to your phone, you’ll get a second notification when it’s been removed from your doorstep. For added accuracy, you can create “Activity Zones,” within your Hello’s line of vision, which will tell you exactly where a package was left.
Limitations of the Nest Hello’s Package Detect
While the new Nest Hello feature is great, it’s not quite perfect and won’t work in every situation. As mentioned previously, if your package is below a certain size, you’re unlikely to receive notifications for it, even if it’s within your Hello’s field of view.
Which is another limitation of this feature: the Hello’s field of view. Since the Nest Hello was created for detecting and displaying people, it doesn’t offer the best viewing angle for detecting packages left on the ground. You’ll probably have a tough time getting this feature to work if packages are left directly adjacent to your door, though this can be solved by mounting the doorbell with a better viewing angle.
Finally, in poor lighting and weather conditions, you can expect the Nest Hello to have a hard time detecting a package accurately. And if you have two packages delivered within ten minutes of one another, your Hello will only send alerts on the first package.
Other Nest Aware Features
Again, it’s important to note that this feature is only available to those with a Nest Aware subscription; if you have this service, the package detect feature will be enabled on your Nest Hello automatically.
If you don’t yet have the Nest Aware service, this could be the feature that pushes you towards membership. For $5 a month you’ll have access to five days of video history, 24/7 recording, and the ability to create Activity Zones.
It comes with intelligent motion detection as well, which (like the package detect feature) notifies you of detected movement and what caused it. It’s a simple way to get a lot more out of your existing Nest cameras.