Google / Nest is Destroying Dropcam

By John Honovich, Published Aug 10, 2015, 12:00am EDT

Wow.

The most popular consumer camera has suddenly become one of the most hated.

Just add Google.

In this note, we examine the four main complaints and what this means for the consumer market.

Dropcam ** ****** **** ***

******* ********* ** ****** ~* years ***** ****, ***** ** Axis **** ******. *******, it *** *** ***** 2012, **** ************ ***** *** ** camera, **** **** ****** started ** **** ***. And ******* ******* ****** rave *******, ****** *** Internet *** ** ******. Combined ********* ***************** *********, ** **** ** a$*** ******* ****** **** Google / ****.

***, *** ***** *** 'Dropcam', ****-****** ***********, *** been ********. *** ******* brand *** ******, ******** with '**** ***'. ** our**** *** **** ******* showed, *** '***' ****** is **%+ **** *** old ******, **** *** biggest *********** ***** ******** analytics *** *********** ***** max ******* ** ****.

Changes ** *********** / *******

*** ******** ******* ********* 54% *-**** ******* *** 12% *-**** ******* ** Amazon.

***, *** *** **** Cam *** **** **** half ** ***** *-**** reviews *** **** **** triple *** *-**** ******* (i.e., **% *-**** ** 39% *-****).

******, *** **** ************** ******* ***** ****** ** ***** customers:

Terrible *******

******* ******* ***** *** real ***** ***** *******, an ********* ******* *** a ******** ******** ********.

****** ** ****** *** its ******** ** ***** let ********* ***** ** a ****** ********. **** evidently ** *** **** better:

  • "******** ******** *******. **** their ******* ** ******* up."
  • "** ******* ***'* **** and *** ******** ******* is ********* *** **** rude."
  • "* **** ****** **** customer ******* *** **** were ******** ** ** why *** ****** ** delayed"
  • "* ******** **** ****** were *** ****, ** my ****** ****, *** customer ******* ******* **** was **** ** *******."
  • "* **** ***** * days *** * ***** on *** ***** **** them. **** ****** ** friendly *** ******* ***********. They **** ******* ** it **** ** ******** shortly *** ******* **** done."
  • "* **** ***** ** phone ******* ******* ***** and **** *** *****, with ** ***** ******, beyond ** ******* **** time. ******** ** * Catch-22. *** ******** ** "we *** ***** ** help ** **** ** with **** ******* *** a ***********." ******* ******* emails ******* ** ** phone ** ********* ** reach **** ****** ** proceed *** *****."

Google / **** *******

**** ********** ***** ****** / **** ****** ** more ******* ********* / depend ** ***** ***** products.

*** *******:

  • "**** *** ******* *** option ** ****** *** disable *** ****** **** you ***** ** ****** with **** ***** (*** Fencing). ***** ******** ** to *** *** ****/**** feature ** *** **** thermostat ** *** ** manually ** *** **** Cam **** *** ****** / ******* ***** **** you **** ** **** on *** ******" **** was ******** ********** ** reviewers.
  • "*** **** **** ****** browser ** *** ****** add, ****** ** ****** a ****** **** ** your **** *******. * got ** ***** ********* saying ** ****** **** needed ******** (** *** expired) ** * ****** in *** ***** ** add *** *** ***********. I **** ******** ******** and **** ******* *** neither ***** ****. ** I ****** **** ***** and *** **** *'* need ** *** ******, so * ***** ** on ** ****** ***** has ****** *********."
  • "***** ******* **** *** work ********** ** ******** Explorer (**) ** ******* and **** **** ** intention ** ****** **. They **** *** **** I **** ** *** Chrome."
  • "*** ************* ******* **** seems ** **** ** my ******* *** *** not ** ** ****'* iPhone."

Repeat ********* ******

*****, **** ** ***** most ***** *********, *** had **** ****** ******** for *** **** *** years *** ***** *** upset, *** ** * combination ** *** ******** support, **** ******** *** issues *********:

  • "******* *** *** ******* of * **** *******. It *** **** ** use, ***** ** *** up, *** * ***** to ******. ****, ** worked *****! * ****** two (*) **** **** the *** **** **** out *** **** **** disgusted"
  • "** **** * ******* Pro **** ** ****. Super ************ **** **** camera ** * ***** step ****. * ****** with *** ***** *******, but ** *** *** most ********** ** *** alerts. *** *** ***** welcome ** **** *** turn *** *** ******. This ****** *****'* ** that, ** * *** alerts *** ***, ***** day."
  • "* **** ********* *** Dropcam **** **** *******"
  • "* ** ** ************ in **** ****** ******. I **** *** * Dropcam *** *** **** a **** *** *** been **** ***** **** it."
  • "* **** ** ******* Pro **** *** ****** this *** **. *** home, *** ** ** and ******* **'* *** an *******, *** * downgrade! **** ** *** features * **** ** my ******* **** ******* from **** *** ****** such ** ***** *************, location-based *******, *** ******* to ***** **** ****** with ****** ******* ****** it ****** *** *** ability ** ********* ** public *******"

Complaints ***** ********* **** ******** ******

****** **** ** *** fundamentally *** **** *** Nest ***, *** ********** about ****** ** *** to *** ****** ** recorded ***** **** ** be ********:

  • "*** **** ** *** the ** ***** $**/***** to **** *** **** Aware ************. ********* **** is * ********* (*********) webcam. **** ***** * 30 *** **** ***** on ***, ** *** won't *** ** *** how ****** *** "*************" really ** ***** **********. Build *** ***** $***/**** into **** ********** ********."
  • "**** ****** **** **** camera **** ***** ** is *********** ******* ******* their ******* ************. * *** expecting **** * ***** be **** ** ****** the ******* **** ********* a "****** *****" **** free-trial, *** **** ** not *** ****. ** you ** *** *** in ** ***** $**/*****, you *** * ****-****-******. You **** ***** ******* motion *** ***** ******, you **** **** ** unable ** *** **** caused ****."
  • "**'* ********* ****** *** pay *** ***** ************ of $*** ** $*** a ****. *'** ** switching ** **** **** capable ****** *** ***** the **** ***** ***** this *******."
  • "************* **** ****** ** nearly ********* ****** *** pay *** *** $** a ***** ************."
  • "** ****** ** ***'* even **** *** **** motion *** **** ********. So *'** *** ** alert ** ** ***** from *** **** *** that ****** *** ********, I'll ***** *** *****, and ******* *** **** feed **** **** ******* to **** **** ** way ** *** ** second **** ** **** caused *** *****."

******, *** **** *** hardware ****** ***** ~$*** USD, ***** ** ** the **** *** ** the ****** *** ******** cube ** *******.

Big ******* *** ***********

****** / ****'* **** service *** ****** ** more ******* ********* ** into *** ****** ********* have ******* ****** *** momentum ** *** ****** consumer ********.

********, *** **** ** the ****** ** ******** up *** *** ***** are ******** ******* **** provide ******* ***** / access ** **** *** at ******* ***** ******.

** *** **** **** for ****** / **** Cam, **** ** ***** companies **** ****** ********* a ***** ******** ** far, *** **** ** this ** ****** *******. Plus, ***** **** ** a ***** *** ******* market ***** ****** *** take ********* ** ** card ********* ** ****** or ********* ********* *****, means *** ******** ** camera ****** ** **** open ***.

Comments (29)

Get a Canary....no fee....monitors temp and humidity....1080 camera !

$250......

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We tested Canary a few months back and found that it performed pretty well. Setup was just about as easy as Dropcam/Nestcam, the app was easy to use, and image quality was good. And like you said, the temp/humidity/air quality sensors are nice, as is the built in siren.

At the time it didn't allow for download, but they've since remedied that. And there is no search other than simply scrolling through the timeline, which makes it a bit of a pain to find older events. They also have no web interface, which Nest does.

It's not a bad alternative, but their advertising hasn't been particularly strong and I think a lot of consumers simply don't know it exists.

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We have two Canaries (from the original crowdfunding) in continuous operation. Setup and operation are simple and useful.

This particular note on the Nest Cam caught my eye.

"By itself it won't even show you what motion was JUST detected. So I'll get an alert on my phone from the Nest app that motion was detected, I'll swipe the alert, and usually the live feed will take minutes to load with no way to see 20 second clip of what caused the alert."

This limitation would completely eliminate the usefullness of this type of camera to me. We use this feature constantly for pet monitoring.

Canary is an almost invisible product market-wise. It also has no hooks such as for IFTTT (at least so far). Too bad.

BTW, the siren is disconcerting loud - as it should be. I do wish the air quailty readotu was more quantitative - but maybe I am too much in geek land.

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Nest should have acquired Canary. ;)

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I keep getting messages from Nest to upgrade the app from my old Dropcam app to the new Nest app that state something along the lines of "the new NEST app does not have some of the functionality of the existing Dropcam app, but.." So yeah, I am not "upgrading" anytime soon!

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Google technically no longer owns / controls Nest, as of this afternoon.

This is not a joke, but they have created a new company, called Alphabet, that will own and control Google and other companies, such as Nest, as individual subsidiaries.

From the NY Times article on it, here is a breakdown of Alphabet's organization:

The Google founders declared, "the whole point is that Alphabet companies should have independence and develop their own brands." On the other hand, those 'companies' will still report to the same basic owners, the Google founders.

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Well that's unexpected.

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Google technically no longer owns / controls Nest, as of this afternoon.

still doesn't remove enough of the creepy feeling of google watching me to convince me to take the dropcam off the shelf and put it into use at our office...

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And I suspect the increasing negative connotation of Google's power plays a role in their emphasis on multiple 'independent' brands.

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Dropcam doesn't have a google problem, it has Nest and more specifically a Tony Fadell problem.

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Alphabet.com is a BMW-owned automobitive fleet management company. So maybe that's the next aquisition? I mean the whole company, not just the domain.

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Negative. It's https://abc.xyz/

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Larry Paige stepping down as CEO also.

The pessimist says that it is being done to insulate mother Google from the volatility that an owning an incubator typically has.

In addition, with this new structure we plan to implement segment reporting for our Q4 results, where Google financials will be provided separately than those for the rest of Alphabet businesses as a whole.

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To be clear, Paige is stepping down as CEO of Google but will be CEO of Alphabet, which will still own / operate / control all subsidiaries including Google, Nest, etc.

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Well they have a sense of humour anyhow. .xyz is very close to HBO series Silicon Valley Hooli.xyz company strategy...the series is worth watching

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Presumably abc.xyz implies the whole alphabet from a to z....

What they do with the initiative, remains to be seen.

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There is actually an easter egg in the Alphabet announcement related to this:

1. go to http://abc.xyz

2. Scroll to the 8th paragraph ("Sergey and I are seriously..")

3. Click on the '.' that punctuates the second sentence (ending in "our drone delivery effort")

..it takes you to a site http://www.hooli.xyz/#inspiration

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Good info. I was actually thinking of purchasing a few Nest Cams for my mom's house. Now I'll wait.

I'm also wondering when the market will be flooded with Chinese versions of the same, but for half the price. $129 a camera, while reasonable, seems high for the residential space.

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"$129 a camera, while reasonable, seems high for the residential space."

Actually Nest is $199, so yes, there is a lot of room for many competitors to undercut them on price, both for hardware and for ongoing recording / alerts.

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Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Sorry for the customers, glad to see the mythology of Google's perfection is again under discussion.

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This is a really good analysis. Fair disclosure, as I am on their Board, but I think the most interesting, fastest growing, and highest reviewed IoT video product on Amazon, right now is Ring (Ring.com). Their UI, setup process, battery/low-power options go well beyond Dropcam, and though generally thought of a "smart" doorbell, they are well positioned to emerge as the new leader in the IoT camera space as well.
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Steve, how are they positioned to emerge as new leader in the camera space? They sell the doorbell/camera and an add-on chime for it, correct? They don't do standard indoor or outdoor cameras, do they?

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Ethan, I can't really comment on the company's roadmap but the device as it stands today works very well as both a doorbell and an indoor/outdoor video device with the recent launch of their cloud recording option. When not being used as a doorbell, a Ring can use combination of IR and video analytics to function well in light/shadow and its low voltage and battery options mean it can be mounted where a Dropcam can't...sometimes for months without a recharge.
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Steve, I like the Ring product a lot, it seems quite solid and could add a lot to a larger system like Alarm.com. But it seems like another point product that wants to be a company.

I stoped by the Ring booth at ISC and was confused as to why they wasted so much money on a big booth only to tell people they had no plans to support the pro market or channel sales (other than Amazon.) Did not seem to be a wise use of investor funds. Perhaps they just wanted to be next to Nest booth and let some google gold rub off ;-)

These one product companies seem to always have the same business plan Burn cash till you sell to a bigger company or bust.

I will continue to keep an eye on them as they clearly have some solid product talent.

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To be honest, I suspected they bought that booth because they were trying to get Nest to notice them and acquire them. So far, it doesn't seem to have worked!

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This one oCO, I saw and tested the online version today. I will have to say, it is pretty easy to operate. The first year of storage is free and after a year, the fees are not too bad. http://getoco.com/us/

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Mark, thanks, I had not seen oCo before, it appears to be a division of iVideon who we profiled here - Russian VSaaS Startup Claims Massive Growth.

It's 1 year free but 1 day of recording only. It's better than no days free but that should be noted.

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I saw the oCo camera last week, but had not read up on it yet. It seems like every one of these on the consumer side is copying the dropcam model, but not improving on either the software or hardware, so the value proposition is confusing..., On the flip side, the enterprise people seem able to build a decent piece of hardware, yet the software seems to be a very difficult piece to solve for them.

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New article: We're hearing about troubles at Nest, the smart-home company Google bought for $3.2 billion: "Nest had an internal culture where it was "always crunch time" because of unrealistic deadlines and a hierarchical management structure."

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