Google Gambles On Face-Scanning Doorbell in Post-GDPR UK

Google’s face-scanning smart doorbell has hit the UK market.Google Gambles On Face-Scanning Doorbell in Post-GDPR UK

Called Nest Hello, it’s a doorbell with an integrated camera and speaker system, and is designed to connect to other smart home devices via wifi. When someone is at the door, it will send an alert to the user – through a smartphone or Google Home speakers – and it will allow the user to see a camera feed displaying whoever’s stopping by. The user can then talk to the visitor through Nest Hello’s integrated speaker system, or prompt preprogrammed messages (such as “Be right there!”), or just answer the door.

That functionality all comes straight out of the box, but subscribing to the Nest Aware service adds more. The system can then be trained to recognize familiar faces, telling the user exactly who is at the door, or whether it’s a stranger. Users can also access recorded video from the last five, ten, or 30 days, depending on the subscription package.

In the wake of the implementation of the European Union’s GDPR privacy law, offering Nest Aware may be something of an unnecessary risk on Google’s part. With the biometric data stored in Ireland, it isn’t clear what the privacy implications of the facial recognition feature could be; and for many users, being able to see who’s at the door through their phones offers them the same information, and nearly as conveniently. But Google has been keen to offer enhanced AI technology through its more recent devices, and it may see the Nest Aware subscription service as an important part of the overall branding strategy for Nest Hello and a differentiator in comparison to Amazon’s Ring offerings, which are already well-established in the market.

Sources: Wired, The Guardian

May 31, 2018 – by Alex Perala