Raccoon Alley Cam – Google’s Nest Outdoor Camera

Google’s NEST Outdoor Camera

Nest Outdoor Cam

This is my test of our Google’s Nest Outdoor Camera and I’ve decided to place it in the side alley where my garbage cans and the delicious green bin reside. As anyone who lives in Toronto knows, the green bins are irresistible containers to our lovely raccoon community. Keep on eye out for the evening and night time activities. I’ve setup the camera to be shareable online which is a great feature if you are looking at marketing your camera views (e.g., the lineup outside your restaurant for brunch on Sunday)

Installation

The other purpose here is to show the camera capabilities and ease of installation. In the end, I found that the camera is amazing but definitely not something using concealed wiring. It is meant to be plugged in outside and extended using the supplied cabling which is just a USB power supply. The included cables are long and finding a nearby plug wasn’t the problem but concealing the cables was a huge issue.

USB connection from camera is large

I was originally going to drill a small hole in my exterior wall to plug the camera indoors but the size of the USB connector is massive and I would have needed to drill a 1″ hole. Our typical CAT6 holes are 1/4″ and very easy to cut and adjust cable length so this is not intended to be connected indoors.

If you are looking for a discrete camera with hidden wiring, then stick to the traditional or IP based camera systems that use CAT5e or CAT6 cabling. 

I also found that mounting it and viewing an alley way was a little difficult. The magnet idea is great so that you can simply rotate your camera to what you want to view. The problem is that you can’t easily view 90 degrees from your magnet. The camera wants to point away from the magnet.

Magnetic mount

This is a minor detail and I’m sure someone will make an accessory that helps stand the camera off the wall more and allow it to be aimed down alleys.

The Quality

Overall the quality of the camera and the image is amazing. I just really wish they would make a “pro” version that would allow a CAT6 (PoE) connection so we could easily add it to a network instead of using WiFi. I love the look of the camera physically. Very modern and well built.

The App (Google of course)

The Nest app uses easy QR quotes to add the camera. Very simple and user friendly. I didn’t have any issues with this camera. I did have an issue with the older Dropcam Pro indoor camera recognizing the code so I had to manually enter it. (Google’s Nest bought Dropcam in 2014 for $555 million shortly after Nest was purchased by Google for $3.2 billion!!!)

Security

Anyone who wonders where to physically install cameras is always worried that you can cut the cable and now the thief or person you are trying to capture is getting away. This is usually not the primary purpose of having cameras on your property and it if is, this isn’t your camera. The cable can very easily be cut if it is accessible and I would bet that 90% of the installations out there are susceptible to being cut. But if your primary purpose is to keep an eye on things at the house or place of business (e.g., your cash register, when your employees arrive at work, etc) this is a great camera.

My biggest concern is that Nest is owned by Google and they will most definitely be using the data (all of it) to keep on eye on our lives. The service is actually called Nest Aware…:-)

If you have big brother fears, then yes this is valid and stay away from all cloud based recording cameras. Stick with on-premise camera systems with an NVR or DVR.  This also is a great point of discussion for NOT buying the cheap offshore cameras. You just never know where that recording or data is going.

Overall Views

On the Plus Side

+ quality of the camera
+ great image
+ great app
+ responsive alerts on motion
+ great for DiY market
+ great for 1 or 2 cameras

On the Negative

– Cabling cannot be customized or hidden easily
– Side angle view on the mount very difficult
– You have to pay monthly for recording
– still pricey for what you get and if you are looking at more than 2 cameras, you are better off with POE/NVR based systems.
– Not sure exactly at this point how much data is being transmitted. (I’m on an unlimited data plan but if you aren’t be very aware of the upload of data)

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Raccoon Alley Cam

Posted in Security

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