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Google reveals revamped Nest Hub

22 Apr 2021

Google has today announced the second-gen Nest Hub, with new features including sleep sensing, built-in Thread radio, and better connectivity to apps and other Nest speakers.

The new voice-controlled smart hub’s speaker is based on the same audio technology as Nest Audio, and has 50% more bass than the original Hub.

The new Nest Hub also shows all compatible connected devices in one place — and its built-in Thread radio facilitates a new connectivity standard being created by the Project Connected Home over IP working group.

The primary hallmark of the second-gen Nest Hub is its new sleep feature — Sleep Sensing. 

An optional, opt-in tool, Sleep Sensing is a sleep analysis feature that allows users to understand and improve sleep. It’s available as a free preview until next year.

Without the use of a camera or wearable, it uses Motion Sense to analyse the movement and breathing of the person sleeping closest to the display. It also detects sleep disturbances like coughing and snoring, or the light and temperature changes in the room with its built-in microphones and ambient light and temperature sensors.

In the morning, users can ask the Nest Hub “Hey Google, how did I sleep?”, whereupon they will receive a personalised report the the Hub’s display. Users can also receive this report on their compatible devices through the Google Fit app.

Guided by support from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, the Sleep Sensing feature also provides bedtime schedules and personalised suggestions. Compiled after several nights of analysis, these suggestions point out notable aspects of users’ sleep and provide recommendations for improvement.

Privacy is a significant concern for many users when it comes to sleep analysis technology. Google says the Sleep Sensing tool comes with privacy safeguards in place, including a visual indicator on the display to let users know when it’s active. 

Motion Sense detects only motion, not bodies or faces, and coughing and snoring audio data is not sent to Google servers. There are multiple controls to disable Sleep Sensing features, including a hardware switch that physically disables the microphone. Users can also review or delete their sleep data at any time, and Google specifies that sleep data isn’t used for personalised ads.

The new Nest Hub comes in two colours: chalk and charcoal, and will retail in New Zealand for NZ$169. It will be available from the following retailers; JB Hi-Fi, Noel Leeming, Harvey Norman, PB Tech and The Warehouse, from May 5.