Google is working on being more committed to privacy, and part of that commitment is being sure that Nest and Dropcam users know when they are being recorded. To make that possible, Google has announced a big change to the Nest cameras, Nest Hello, and Dropcam that has left some owners of the devices unhappy. Originally the status light for these devices could be turned off to make the cameras less of a bother at night.
Google says that as part of its "commitment to privacy" it promised a "clear visual indicator when your Nest cameras are on and sending video and audio to Nest." Owners of Nest cameras received an email this week telling them of the pending change. The email stated, "When your camera is turned on and sending video footage to Google, we will provide a clear visual indicator (such as a green light on your device)."
Google says that by removing the ability for the device owner to turn off the status light, the user and those around the camera will be aware when it is on and recording. Google has given users the ability to dim the green visual indicator, and when live video is streaming from the device, the light will blink. Users are unhappy with the change with some of them saying that the inability to turn the light off essentially ruins the ability to use the cameras as a covert security device.
Some users are also angry that Google is changing the way their cameras work after the original purchase. Owners who use the cameras for baby monitors are particularly unhappy at the thought of blinking green light in the room keeping kids awake. Many are saying this change isn't a big deal; owners can cover the light with tape. Google patched used nest cams in June after it was discovered that previous owners could see the video they recorded.