Today’s keynote from the annual Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif., announced a ton of exciting new innovations and improvements from Google. One of the most intriguing is the merging of Google Home and Nest brands. Google has owned Nest since 2014, but Nest had mostly operated separately under Google’s parent company, Alphabet. Now, Nest will be folded more fully into Google with the two brands’ products united.
For example, the Google Home Hub is now called the Google Nest Hub. And it’s also seeing a price drop, from $150 down to $129.
New Google Nest Hub Max
Google announced the new Nest Hub Max, a smart home hub that improves on the Nest Hub. The Nest Hub Max is larger with a 10-inch HD touchscreen display (Nest Hub’s screen is 7 inches). Its size lends itself to video streaming, if you fancy some YouTube TV over a bowl of cereal in the morning or want to follow along to a video recipe while cooking dinner. Like the Nest Hub, it’ll work with Google Chromecast and Spotify, too.
A home dashboard lets you view and control all connected smart devices like thermostats, cameras, smart locks, and lights.
The Nest Hub Max’s most impressive improvement is the addition of a camera. This unlocks a treasure trove of features. You can make video calls with Google Duo, and the camera lens will adjust to make sure you’re always in the frame. You also can leave video messages on the Nest Hub Max for the household. The camera enables another unique convenience called Quick Gestures — it allows you to pause your music with a wave of your hand. No more trying to shout “Hey Google” over your music.
If you’re worried about any prying eyes (Google took time to assure everyone it is committed to privacy), there’s a physical switch in the back of the screen that will turn the camera and microphone off.
And because of the Nest and Google integration, the Hub Max can double as an additional Nest camera. On your Nest app, you can view what the camera on the Hub Max projects along with your other security tech.
Release Date: Later this summer
For consumers, this shift in Google organization should only result in a better product. Historically, smart hubs from Amazon and Google have merely been compatible with other smart devices and technology (vulnerable to network connections and requiring app juggling). But the Nest and Google merge will mean smart hubs designed with these features already built-in and optimized. We’re looking forward to more seamless integration between Google services, home security, and smart home technology.