Today, during the Google I/O keynote, it was announced that Google will be joining two of its hardware divisions, Nest and Google Home, which will be called under the new name, Google Nest. Furthermore, Google Nest will be the brand for all of Google’s future smart home appliances.
In the past, smart home appliances were provided by Nest while Google Home provided the smart speakers. Joining both companies under the same roof is more of a corporate solution towards the confusion between the products released by both companies, which both are aimed to provide smart home services.
In January 2014, Alphabet purchased Nest for $1.3 billion for Google to start developing their own line of smart home appliances. However, with multiple infractions that the shift encountered, Nest remained to be an autonomous company under Alphabet and was releasing their own appliances separate from Google Home. That is, until last year when Nest was brought into Google’s fold under the Google Home division.
Ironing out the wrinkles, Google Nest will be refurbished into the new branding of committing to ease of use, interconnectivity, and data privacy. This is an attempt to relax Nest users especially throughout the endless complaints with smart home appliances accused of collecting private information without the active knowledge of its users.
Moving forward, Google Nest will start releasing products in the summer. During the keynote, it was announced that previous Google Home products such as the Google Home and Google Home Mini, Google Wifi, Chromecast, and Nest’s existing smart home products will all be moved under the new Nest branding. Although it’s quite unclear if other Google Home appliances will also carry the ‘Nest’ name.
Also during the keynote, it was announced that the previous Google Home Hub is getting a makeover under the new Google Nest brand, which will now be called the Google Nest Hub Max.
Quite adversely, the Google Nest Hub Max is more of a Google product with some Nest functionalities but it’s a start towards Google Nest’s line of smart home products.
Primarily, the Nest Hub Max is bigger at 10 inches compared to the preceding Google Home Hub at 7 inches. The screen has HD quality resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, which is relatively low compared to other smart displays but it doesn’t pose much of a problem so far.
The other big thing about this is the speakers. There are two front-firing 10W tweeters and one 30W woofer on the back that’s powered by Google Assistant.
Moreover, the Nest Hub Max typically does all the things that the original Hub does. It’s an excellent display for your Google Photos albums or information on weather and recipes. It also functions as a small TV that’s compatible with services like YouTube TV and Hulu.
The most significant change in appearance by the Nest Hub Max is the front camera that the original Hub decided to skip. Its 6.5-megapixel sensor camera can be used to perform daily tasks such as video calling. It also works with Google Duo where the camera tries to keep human faces centered in the video it sends. Moreover, the camera provides a 127-degree field of view, which is fairly wide and would easily show an entire room.
But with Nest’s integration, the camera also functions with two other interesting functionalities. One of which is its face detecting capability that’s easily set up over your phone. Like modern face detection in mobile phones, the Nest Hub Max will be able to tell if you’re in the room and will display a personalized screen based on your data that’s stored locally.
In relation to the promise of privacy, information used for facial recognition will not be stored in the cloud but would remain locally in the device. But Google can’t deny that data will pass through their servers since information are still moved from one device to the other over the Internet.
The second thing is the security feature of the camera. You can access the camera from your mobile phone through the Internet. In simple terms, it can function as a desk security camera whenever you need it.
Additional features include lifting your hand to stop or continue activities that the Nest Hub Max is currently performing. Definitely better than screaming at the device to do a simple task.
The Nest Hub Max will be available in the market this summer starting at $229.