I have always been curious about whether my Nest Thermostat has a hidden camera of some sort, judging from its overall design and structure, especially the black sensor near the Nest logo that faintly resembles a camera.
If there is such a camera, then Google would be in a lot of trouble for defying their own privacy policies and even be susceptible to potential video footage leaks.
This is a query that I see a lot on the internet, with many so paranoid that they avoid smart thermostats at all costs.
So I figured with this article I can put that curiosity and fear to rest, and actually explain whether the Nest Thermostat does house a camera.
The Nest Thermostat does not have a camera sensor and instead relies on its smart software, sensors, and the Google Home ecosystem to learn who is at home and send appropriate commands to initiate features such as the Eco mode.
Do Nest Thermostats Have Cameras?
Nest Thermostats do not have a camera sensor. Since the device is primarily a Thermostat, there is no need for Google to fit in a camera module and add up additional costs to the device.
Maybe sometime in the future, Google may combine the Nest Thermostat tech with a home security camera paving way for smart thermostats with a camera built-in.
Even if they release such a product in the near future, they will have to clearly disclose the sensors and functionality of the device, thanks to our privacy laws.
This would make the existence of such a camera sensor on board blatant and obvious.
But the current crop of Nest Thermostats, at least as of writing this article, do not have a camera sensor that is hidden and silently recording your movements.
How Does Nest Thermostat Know When You Are Away?
Thanks to Google and its interconnected ecosystem, Google simply relays the information of your location to Nest Thermostat from the Google app on your phone.
As soon as the Google app detects you have left your home, more specifically your Home WiFi network, Nest Thermostat realizes that you have left its proximity.
Google has also included features such as the Eco mode, which lets the Nest Thermostat go to a power-saving mode whenever you are not inside your house.
The camera inside the Nest Thermostat rumor started off very mildly, as people trusted the brand and Google never mentioned a camera in the box.
But what added more fuel to the fire was the Nest Thermostat's intriguing feature of it knowing when you are at home and delegating tasks accordingly.
The Nest Thermostat would automatically turn on its display and relay information when you simply stand in front of it without any physical contact.
These seemingly magical features pushed off even more skeptical customers to assure themselves that there is indeed a camera on the Nest Thermostat.
This controversy even pushed people to look at other competitors like the Wyze thermostats, which stand at very equal footing with the Nest Thermostat.
Most even pointed out the black sensor beside the Nest logo that almost seemed to resemble a camera. But in reality, that was just a motion sensor implemented so as to make sure that such smart features are relayed at a precise scale.
Such smart tricks are how Google manages to keep alive almost all their services, and it just shows how innovative the company can get with mostly software.
Sensors Inside Nest Thermostats
The Nest Thermostat has a foster of sensors for its proper functioning, like any other smart device.
All these sensors are used in conjunction to relay the great overall experience of using Google's smart thermostats.
According to Google's own support website, the following are the sensors that are included in Nest Thermostats.
This is the most common sensor that is found in a plethora of smart devices, including Nest Thermostats.
Almost all Nest Thermostats, such as the Nest Thermostat, Nest Learning Thermostat, and the Nest Thermostat E have a built-in Bluetooth sensor.
This is primarily used to pair with other Bluetooth-enabled devices such as your smartphone, tablet, or a temperature sensor like the Nest Temperature Sensor.
A proximity sensor is used to detect the presence of any nearby objects that are directly in front of its sensing range.
The Nest Learning Thermostat has a proximity sensor built in, that resides beside the Nest logo.
It is used to detect if someone is in front of it so as to light up the display automatically without you having to physically interact with the thermostat.
Nest Thermostats, such as the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Thermostat E have an in-built motion sensor to sense movement.
The black camera-like sensor you see besides the Nest logo is the motion sensor of the thermostat. This is used to detect the occupancy of the room if possible to relay the best temperatures for maximum comfort.
It is also used for enabling the Eco mode when no motion is detected inside the room. It also enables automated tasks and Google Assistant Routines.
A Soli Sensor acts similar to a proximity sensor but can detect and recognize a wide array of motion and gestures, which can be translated as commands.
It is seen only on the Nest Thermostat, and not on the Nest Learning Thermostat and Nest Thermostat E, probably due to its high component prices.
Soli sensor basically acts like a proximity sensor: it detects movement to light up its display before physical contact. But with the Soli sensor on board, it is possible for Google to perhaps introduce a lot more features such as gesture support, thus future-proofing the device in a way.
Despite there being a good selection of required sensors on board, there is definitely no sign of any hardware that performs the functions of a camera.
Even hardware junkies, who are experienced in teardowns of smart devices have carefully checked the internals and quashed the rumors of a camera on board.
But as stated earlier, with the scope and scale of how smart devices are being adopted, there definitely can be a day when Google releases a Nest Thermostat with a camera.
But Google, like any other company, is tied to its own strict privacy policies and you can be assured that there will be no trigger of the camera without your permission.
I hope my article on whether Google Nest Thermostats have a camera has been a helpful read.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Do Nest Thermostats have a microphone inside?
Nest Thermostats do not come with a microphone sensor on board.
Do Nest Thermostats have Google Assistant?
Google Assistant does not work natively on the Nest Thermostat since there is no microphone to relay commands. However, Nest Thermostats can work with the Google Assistant's ecosystem and can follow Assitant routines and other automated tasks.
Do you need a subscription for using Nest Thermostats?
There are no subscription models for using Nest Thermostats, and all advertised features are available at no cost.