Google Nest Hub Max Announced, Home Hub Rebranded and Coming to Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden
As expected, Google’s Rick Osterloh announced a new Google Assistant smart display called Nest Hub Max at the company’s annual I/O developer conference. It is an 11″ smart display with a similar design as the Google Home Hub but with a larger screen than the device that debuted in October 2018 and a camera onboard. Home Hub was also rebranded at Nest Hub and retains its 7″ screen. Features of the new Nest Hub Max highlighted by Osterloh included:
- Smart home controller
- Kitchen TV
- Digital photo frame
- Indoor camera
- Video calls
- Gesture recognition
Gesture Control and Personalization Come to the Smart Display
The first three features listed above were available on the initial smart display launched in 2018. The next two, indoor camera and video calls, fill a feature gap because the original device lacked a camera. Personalization and gesture recognition introduce new features not available on any other smart displays today. It is not clear how many gestures are actually recognized as only one was demonstrated – the ability to pause music by simply holding your hand in front of the device in a stop gesture. This addresses a common issue that voice recognition systems have trouble understanding commands when music is playing loudly on the devices.
Personalization is the most interesting new feature, particularly when coupled with facial recognition. Osterloh said this can be keyed to both Voice Match and Face Match. Voice match was already available for Google Assistant enabling personalization for dipsplaying user calendars by their voice. However, Face Match is new and can recognize a user by their facial characteristics when they are in view of the camera. So, it can show their schedule and commuter data and recognize them when entering a room even if they do not speak. The Nest Hub Max will be available in the Australia, U.K., and U.S. at launch. The price is $229.
Home Nest Hub Coming to 9 More Countries
Google Home Hub is now officially called the Nest Hub (though this hasn’t yet been updated in the Google Store) and it will be permanently reduced in price to $129. However, the device is routinely discounted to $99 so the new price point will not impress many consumers. The bigger news is that Google Nest Hub will now be available in twelve new countries including Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden. It has previously been available only in the U.S., U.K., and Australia.