The Nest Hub broadcasts radar waves over an unsuspecting sleeper.
You will be warned when sleep detection is active.
The back of the Nest Hub Gen 2. It looks identical to the old one.
A sleep detection report that you will receive in the morning.
A more detailed sleep detection screen.
A sleep sensor review on Google Fit.
Google has announced a sequel to the Nest Hub (formerly Google Home Hub): the second generation Nest Hub. It looks the same as the existing Nest Hub – with the same design and 7-inch display – but with better sound and a few additional sensors. The main feature is the integration of Google's Soli Radar technology, which enables aerial gestures and sleep tracking.
Like the other second generation Nest Audio speakers, the Nest Hub 2 has better sound. "The speaker in the new Nest Hub is based on the same audio technology as Nest Audio," says Google's blog post, "and has 50 percent more bass than the original Hub." Like the second generation speaker hardware, the new hub has "a dedicated machine learning chip on the device that transfers some wizard experience from our data centers directly to the device, making responses to common commands faster over time." Google notes that the ML on the device is only available in the US.
Soli is the most important new addition. Google's internal chip was previously included in (and then removed from) the pixel line. The technology is interesting: Google miniaturized radar into a chip small enough to slip into an electronic device. The early demos promised to capture "sub-millimeter movements of your fingers" and enable gestures like turning a virtual dial or tapping a button. On the way to commercialization, Google had to reduce those lab prototypes, and now Soli can only recognize large, arm-waving gestures that are much less useful. Soli was a flop on the Pixel 4 because it offered imprecise gestures that didn't have much value compared to a phone's huge touchscreen with clear lettering and better accuracy.
Soli's only quick gesture on the Nest Hub appears to be this "stop" gesture.
Google seems to be porting the function to the Nest Hub with "Quick Gestures" without improvement. The only gesture mentioned is a large hand-up stop gesture that you can make a few inches in front of the screen. This gesture plays or pauses content, turns off an alarm, and stops a timer. As with the Pixel 4, there is a large, more precise touch button on the screen when this happens so you can barely tap the air gesture across the screen. I could see that air gestures are useful when you're cooking and your hands are dirty (smart displays are popular in the kitchen, after all), but keep in mind that these devices also have Google Assistant voice commands that you can use to start and stop music can do many other things hands-free without the range restrictions of solos.
Google dreams of monthly subscription services
The Nest Hub 2 does not have a camera, but it would like to watch you via Solis Radar while you sleep. The new Sleep Detection feature analyzes "how the person closest to the display sleeps based on their movement and breathing – all without a camera or portable." Radar waves gently caress you while you sleep for motion detection. The microphone can detect coughing or snoring and the ambient light and temperature sensors can track what is happening in the room. In the morning, you can see if you should be feeling tired (I think?) With a sleep map that appears on the Nest Hub display. Sleep detection can also connect to and share data with the Google Fit app on a smartphone.
The wearables shoutout is interesting as most tech companies would do sleep tracking through a wearable, but Wear OS's terrible performance in the market means that Google doesn't have a viable wearable platform. Google is currently undergoing a revision of its wearables strategy after purchasing Fitbit. This blog post says, "We'll continue to look into ways to use Fitbit's sleep tracking capabilities in the future."
Google notes that sleep detection is optional and "your cough and snore audio is only processed on the device – it is not sent to Google servers." Currently, sleep detection is "a preview" and it appears that Google plans to charge additional fees for the service over the next year.
Here is the relevant quote from the support page:
Until next year, enjoy a free preview of Sleep Sensing. Google is learning and innovating this new technology, and is also exploring how sleep sensing can become part of the Fitbit and Fitbit Premium experiences. Google and Fitbit will keep you updated on future sleep sensing-related plans.
Fitbit Premium – a service that's currently in flux along with everything else at Fitbit – costs $ 10 per month.
A chip for the CHIP project
The new Nest Hub also offers the new smart home standard "Project Connected Home over IP" or "Project CHIP". CHIP is a conglomerate of hits – Google, Apple, Amazon, Zigbee and others – who finally want to find out smarthome standards once and for all with a new, additional standard (don't hesitate to link this XKCD comic in the comments) . The Nest Hub already has a variety of smart home controls, but it relies on your existing smart home hub, which connects commands and data to Wi-Fi and the Google Assistant. With a built-in thread radio (one of the IoT communication protocols for CHIP) it could in theory be a more active part of a smart home network or possibly replace your hub.
The CHIP standard is not yet ready, so it is not clear what Google is planning here. Google has previously integrated smart home hardware into devices, e.g. B. the Google OnHub router, which was also equipped with a thread radio. Absolutely nothing came of the OnHub's secret smart home functionality, so we're not holding our breath for something to happen here. Google's follow-up to the OnHub (Google Wi-Fi and Google Nest Wi-Fi) can also join thread networks. However, there is no reason why you would want to do this. Right now, the Google Assistant's "Actions" API for voice control of smarthome is fantastic. Therefore, it is not clear what this would actually do from a consumer perspective.
The second generation Nest Hub is available to pre-order now from the Google Store for $ 99.99. It looks like it will ship around March 30th.
Listing image from google