The new Google Nest Hub is an alarm clock on steroids
Meet your new, improved and super smart bedtime companion
There’s not much that the new Google Nest Hub can’t do, save make you a cup of tea. Think of the Nest as a sort of alarm clock on steroids, blending butler, personal assistant, trainer, and maybe even a psychologist into an all-in-one package. The innocuous form factor of this second-generation device conceals a wealth of sensors and speakers; in addition to the all-hearing microphone, you also have a set of smart radar-driven abilities that, amongst other things, can respond to gestures and even track your sleep.
For most people, the Nest Hub’s form factor and price point make it an ideal smart companion for kitchens and bedrooms. With a 7in screen and a powerful speaker embedded in the fabric-covered base, the recycled plastic device will do all the regular Googly things you ask of it, including answering trivial questions, picking up a podcast from where you left off, reading recipes, giving helpful weather and transport updates, cycling through picture galleries and even playing Netflix or Disney+. It’ll also connect to your Nest doorbell, play the radio and read out your calendar. Once you get your choreography right, the Nest Hub can respond to a set of gestures for controlling music, volume and more. No need to even speak.
For chronic insomniacs and the stat-obsessed, the Sleep Sensing function is ripe with potential. If you’re happy to have a little bedside radar watch over you at night, you can expect your every cough, snuffle and store to be logged, as well as breathing and general nocturnal restfulness. This data all gets stacked up and shared with Google’s Fit platform, ultimately giving you tips and suggestions about when to go to bed and the general state of your sleep health.
Google acquired Fitbit earlier this year, and the company’s long-term goal is to build a subscription-driven wellness service that dovetails what it knows about your mind, body and perhaps even spirit to make you feel a whole lot better. Who knows if the device can detect a shudder, because this kind of carefree data distribution isn’t for everyone, regardless of how well it all works. We’re entering a realm of wall-to-wall connectivity, with devices greedily gobbling up as much information about us as they can. The Nest Hub includes opt-outs aplenty, as well as the old-fashioned nuclear method of just cutting off the microphone, but the future of smart devices gets more and more uncanny. Perhaps future domestic tech will offer multiple tiers of ‘smartness’, so you can decide quite how clever the stuff that surrounds you is going to be. §