Google throttles Nest camera quality to reduce network strain

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Nest-camera
It's only temporary.
Photo: Nest

Google has confirmed in an email to Nest customers on Tuesday that it is throttling camera quality to “conserve internet resources.”

The temporary measure, which will roll out to every Nest user over the coming days, is one of many Google and other tech giants have made in an effort to reduce network strain during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Millions of people around the world are currently being forced to work from home for the first time, while all of us are having to rely increasingly on online services to keep in touch with friends and family.

To ensure that we can all continue to do that, service providers are making changes to prevent network overloads. Google has already reduced YouTube video quality in many markets, and now it extending the caps to Nest cameras.

Nest video quality takes a temporary cut

It’s likely your Nest is already working a lot less, what with everyone staying inside. Nevertheless, Google is reducing video quality to minimize the strain Nest cameras place on network infrastructure, TechCrunch reports.

It could make a big difference. For instance, the Nest Cam IQ uses roughly 400GB of data per month at the highest video quality setting. Turning that quality down to medium reduces its data usage to 300GB.

That’s still a fair bit, of course — but if millions of people are using 100GB less than usual every month, that’s a lot of data saved.

Google has confirmed the change is automatic and will be extended to all Nest cameras. Users will receive a notification once the change is made, and they’ll still have the ability to increase video quality manually if they wish.

Reducing network strain during COVID-19

Google isn’t the only company making quality cuts during the coronavirus outbreak. Amazon and Netflix have also throttled bandwidth in an effort to reduce the amount of strain their services put on internet usage.

Sony has also capped download speeds for PlayStation game purchases and game updates. Apple is yet to confirm similar measures for Apple TV+, though it does have significantly fewer users than the likes of Netflix.