No, your eyes are not deceiving you. Your elaborate Nest Cam surveillance setup that’s perfect for spying on your neighbors as you shelter in place is a bit grainier than normal.
The Google-owned service emailed customers today to let them know that, as a result of lifestyle changes made necessary by the coronavirus (i.e., an increase in working from home and corresponding internet usage), it will reduce the default video quality setting for some of its customers.
“In response to community issues caused by COVID-19, we’re temporarily adjusting your camera quality and bandwidth in an effort to conserve internet resources,” reads the email in part. “During this time, it’s critical for us to work together to ensure we find ways to help the community at large.”
That coming together, apparently, requires a sacrifice of precious camera quality.
Now, it’s important to note that not only is this temporary, but it’s also reversible. That’s because Google is only lowering the default setting. In other words, if someone absolutely, positively must see their neighborhood raccoons in HD, then they can switch the setting right back.
That hasn’t stopped some customers from voicing their displeasure, however.
“You have NO RIGHT to adjust the settings on my personal property for any reason!” wrote one presumed customer.
“Don’t downgrade my service in the name of ‘saving the internet’ unless you’re going to also downgrade your pricing structure,” wrote another.
“[Got] your email about how you’re going to downgrade our nest quality/bandwidth as we all need to adjust in these trying times,” read another. “Last I checked, I pay you for this service so you’ll be adjusting too and thusly refunding some of the subscription we paid you right?”
Times, after all, are tough right now. As we saw following similar moves by Netflix and Apple TV+, once you threaten the last thing of value people have in their rapidly deteriorating lives (that is to say, high-quality video), then you’ve left them with no choice but to yell on Twitter.
I hope you’re ready, Nest Cam community manager.