Tag Archives: Google Nest

Nest’s commitments to privacy and security

Two years ago Nest shared our commitments to privacy to give you a better understanding of how our products work in your home. Today, we’re publishing new security commitments and putting it all in one place: Nest’s new Safety Center. The Safety Center is meant to give you a clear picture of the work we do each day to build trustworthy products and create a safer and more helpful home.

Our new security commitments include standards Google has long held as well as updates that are specific to Nest’s connected home devices and services. Finally, we want to acknowledge the way this technology is evolving — for example, our recent announcements on Matter and our work on Project Connected Home over IP ). That’s why we’ve updated a small section in our privacy commitments to better reflect our focus on openness. Here are the details:

  1. We will validate our Google Nest devices using an independent security standard. Google Nest connected smart home devices introduced in 2019 or later are now validated using third-party, industry-recognized security standards, like those developed by the Internet of Secure Things Alliance (ioXt). And we publish the validation results so you can see how our products hold up according to those standards. Before new products launch we’ll assess them against these standards to make sure they’re meeting or exceeding them.
  2. We invest in security research to keep raising our standards.Google Nest participates in the Google vulnerability reward program. This provides monetary rewards for security researchers outside of Google who test our products and tell the Nest Security team about any vulnerabilities they find. This helps the Nest Security team learn about and get ahead of vulnerabilities, keeping Nest devices in your home more secure for the long run.
  3. We help protect your account security as the first step in safety.Your Google Account is your way into your Nest devices, and we take account security seriously. That’s why we help keep your Google Account secure with tools and automatic protections like suspicious activity detection, Security Checkup and two-step verification.
  4. We issue critical bug fixes and patches for at least five years after launch. We work hard to respond to the ever-changing technology and security landscape by building many lines of defense, including providing automatic software security updates that address critical issues known to Google Nest.
  5. We use verified boot to protect your devices. All our devices introduced in 2019 and after use verified boot, which checks that the device is running the right software every time it restarts. This helps make sure that no one has access to your account or control of your devices without your permission.
  6. We give you visibility into which devices are connected to your account.All the devices that you’re signed into will show up in your Google Account device activity page. That way, you can make sure your account is connected only to the devices it should be.

A helpful home is a safe home, and Nest’s new safety center is part of making sure Nest products help take care of the people in your life and the world around you.

Four Google smart home updates that Matter

Today, there are nine smart devices in the average smart home — in 2016, there were only three. While this is explosive growth, the industry is still evolving. Selecting the right devices or connecting them with the ones you already have can be frustrating. 

It’s up to us to simplify the smart home, and to start we must change the way device makers build products. There should be one standard that simplifies selection, setup and control, and makes it easy for our partners to create products and experiences for your home. Here’s how we’re making that happen:    

1. Google’s bringing Matter to Nest and Android

Google and other leading tech companies are working together to develop Matter, the new protocol that simplifies smart homes by using one standard across the industry — and we’re committed to supporting Matter. We’re bringing Matter to Android and capable Nest products, powering them with interoperable control and enabling simpler setups.

Android will be one of the leading operating systems with built-in support for Matter, letting you quickly set up devices with Google and link your favorite Android apps. You’ll only need a few taps to set up your Matter devices, and you’ll have lots of ways to instantly control them such as Matter-enabled Android apps, Google Assistant, the Google Home app, Android Power Controls and compatible Google devices. It also allows over one billion Android devices to enable simple setup and control all Matter-certified products.    

Nest is committed to making our devices connect better and respond faster. Thread, a technology we cofounded in 2014 that helps smart home devices work faster and more securely, will work in conjunction with Matter. Devices with Thread built-in, like Nest Wifi, Nest Hub Max and the second-generation Nest Hub will become connection points for Matter devices, creating even stronger, faster connections across your home. All Nest displays and speakers, like the Nest Hub and Nest Mini, will be automatically updated to control Matter devices, giving you faster and more reliable experiences whether they use Wi-Fi, Thread or ethernet. 

Plus, we’ll update the newest Nest Thermostat to support Matter - meaning for the first time it can be controlled on other platforms that have certified with Matter.

The bottom line: Matter devices will work everywhere your Google smart home does. 

2. One location for smart home information

Smart home information should be available in one trustworthy place. We’re unveiling a new Google smart home directory, an online destination to discover Google Assistant-compatible devices, answer your questions and learn from educational videos. You’ll find products across more than 30 categories, from brands like Philips Hue, Nanoleaf, Samsung, LG, Dyson, Netatmo, Wyze and more. It’s easy to search and filter compatible products, see product details, read reviews and find the best prices.

Google smart home directory

3. Better streaming

We’ve added support for WebRTC, an open-source communications protocol that reduces latency for an improved live video and audio streaming experience between security cameras, video doorbells, smart displays and mobile devices. Top device manufacturers, including Arlo, Logitech, Netatmo and Wyze, are among our first partners to integrate WebRTC with Google Assistant and more will join in the coming weeks.

4. Control your home, from anywhere 

We’re also using Google technology to improve Home & Away Routines, enabling automatic control of Nest cameras, Nest thermostats, smart lights, smart plugs and smart switches based on when you’re home or away. When you leave home, your Away Routine can automatically turn on your Nest cameras and turn off the lights and plugs. When someone arrives home, your Home Routine can turn off the cameras and turn on the lights. 

We’re committed to making the smart home more helpful. The Google smart home will keep finding ways to bring Google Assistant, Nest devices, industry-leading partners and new technology together to help you get things done, stay on track...and sometimes just sit back and enjoy your home.  

Ask a Techspert: How can we fight energy rush hours?

Editor’s Note: Do you ever feel like a fish out of water? Try being a tech novice and talking to an engineer at a place like Google. Ask a Techspert is a series on the Keyword asking Googler experts to explain complicated technology for the rest of us. This isn’t meant to be comprehensive, but just enough to make you sound smart at a dinner party.

Returning from a weekend trip this past winter, my husband and I watched in real time as our security camera cut to black and our Nest app reported the thermostat had lost power. The entire neighborhood had no electricity...thanks to an ice storm that caused a tree in our very own backyard to fall. We returned to a dark, cold home, which stayed that way for two days until the power company made their way through downed trees and ice to reconnect us.

Suddenly, the lights turned on, the internet came back and best yet, we heard the gentle whir of the heater. We blasted the heat — and I have to imagine the homes around us did, too. That likely created an “energy rush hour,” something the Nest team is working on reducing through its Rush Hour Rewards program, which works with utility companies to reward you for saving energy using your Thermostat. Nest is currently celebrating Earth Day with a discount: You can get the Nest Thermostat for $99, which coupled with utility rebates could make the thermostat free for people in certain areas. 

But what exactly creates or constitutes an energy rush hour? And what role do utility companies play? 

I turned to Hannah Bascom, head of energy partnerships for Google Nest. Her job is to find ways for Google to partner with energy companies and services...and this week, to also answer my questions. 

Let’s start with the basics: Tell me about energy rush hours! 

Certain times of the year, especially when it’s very hot or cold, everyone cranks their A/C or heat in addition to all of the usual energy-consuming things we already do, so demand for energy is very high. We call these energy rush hours.

Image showing a hand adjusting a Nest Thermostat on a wall next to a circular mirror.

Then my neighborhood definitely created an energy rush hour this winter during the ice storm. So when everyone cranks their heat or A/C, what do the utility companies do?

 When demand for energy spikes, utility companies typically turn on additional power plants — which are often very expensive and emit a lot of carbon dioxide. And as more people need increasing amounts of energy in their homes and businesses, energy rush hours happen more frequently. We’ve seen several examples of brownouts recently — utilities didn’t have enough power to supply everyone, so they had to shut off power in certain places. As extreme weather events become more common this could happen more regularly, so utilities are considering building more power plants, which is costly and could increase carbon emissions.

But it doesn’t have to be that way! Utilities can incentivize customers to use less energy.

How? I can’t imagine not blasting my heat when it was so cold. 

Nest’s Rush Hour Rewards is one way people automatically lower energy use during energy rush hours without being uncomfortable in their homes. Think about using GPS during a traffic jam: You’re sitting on the highway and it reroutes you to side roads to get around the gridlock. You reach the same destination, you just took a slightly different way. Rush Hour Rewards is like that: Nest reroutes your home’s energy usage during times of grid congestion, but you still reach your destination — which in this case is your comfort level.  

When you enroll in the program, your thermostat will use less energy during times of high demand, but you’ll stay comfortable. And you get rewarded by your utility company because they don’t have to fire up additional generators. That reward could come in the form of bill credits or a sent check. You may even be able to get an instant discount on a Nest Thermostat from your utility provider. Just search for your utility and “Nest Thermostat” to find discounts.

How many customers using Rush Hour Rewards does it take to offset a power plant?

It definitely depends on the scenario but here’s one example: There are lots of peaker plants — the kind of power plant a utility would bring online during an energy rush hour — that are 50 megawatts in size, which is equivalent to only 50,000 thermostats participating in an event. Most major sports arenas hold more people than that!

How does the Nest Thermostat know when an energy rush hour is coming up?

Your energy company, or sometimes another entity that manages your electric grid, monitors weather conditions and forecasts electricity demand. When they predict demand will be high, they call a rush hour. Rush hours can also happen during grid emergencies, like when power plants suddenly go offline due to mechanical failure or extreme weather.

Another fun fact is that virtual power plants help balance renewables like solar and wind on the grid. 

What’s a virtual power plant?

A virtual power plant is what’s created when a bunch of different sources — like home batteries and smart thermostats — come together to help the grid like a power plant would. Because energy output from these sources varies based on things like cloud cover and wind speed, “mini” energy rush hours occur more frequently when there isn’t quite enough energy supply to meet demand. People who participate in Rush Hour Rewards can help balance the grid demand with energy supply. 

How does the Nest thermostat know what temperature is enough to keep me warm or cool but also enough to make a difference during an energy rush hour? 

Your Nest thermostat is very smart! It learns from your use what temperatures keep you comfortable and will make slight adjustments to those settings during or even before rush hours. For example, Nest may pre-cool your house a little bit before a rush hour event starts so that it runs less A/C during the rush hour. Same goes for pre-heating.

Right now, only thermostats participate in rush hours, but in the future your electric vehicle or even your whole home may be able to join in.

5 new ways Google Assistant can make the day a little easier

Spring is here, and with it, a helping hand from Google Assistant. Today we're introducing five new features that help you tackle small things around the house (and from the car).  

1) Can’t remember where you put down your phone?Don’t sweat it. Already one of the most popular features for Google Assistant, you can tell your Nest smart speaker or smart display, “Hey Google, find my phone,” for all devices, now including iPhones. For iPhones, once you opt in to receiving notifications and critical alerts from the Google Home app, you’ll get a notification and hear a custom ringing sound (even when the phone is on silent or if Do Not Disturb is enabled).

2) Get your takeout faster.Over the last year, more and more people started ordering takeout and delivery on Google, and more restaurants added the “order” button to their Business Profiles on Search and Maps. To make online food orders even easier, Assistant can now help you complete your purchase in only a few steps powered by Duplex on the web. To get started, you’ll need to first search for a restaurant near you from the Google App on Android and select “Order Online” or “Order Pickup.”  When you finish your online takeout order from a restaurant we partner with and click “check out,” Assistant will automatically navigate the site and fill out your contact and payment details saved in Google Pay and synced to Chrome Autofill. At launch, we’re partnering with select restaurant chains and will be adding more across the U.S. later this year.  

3) Try a new sunrise or sunset Routine for your smart home devices.Now available globally, these Routines are based on your  location. For example, you can automatically have your living room lights turn on and the sprinklers start when the sun goes down. It’s easy to set up: 

  • Select the “New” routine tab in the Google Home app or Assistant settings. 
  • Under “how to start,” you’ll need to “add starter,” then you’ll see an option for “Sunrise/sunset.”
  • From there, you can customize the time and specific actions you want them to trigger. 

4) Need routine ideas?Assistant Routines make it easy to automatically perform multiple actions at once with a single command. We’ve included a dedicated section in Ready-Made Routines to highlight popular “suggested actions” to  inspire you, such as “Tell me if my battery is low” or “Tell me what happened today in history.” You can also add a “shortcut” icon to your Android home screen for your favorite Routines. Head to the overview screen for Routines in the Google Home app or Assistant Settings and click the “Add to Home Screen” icon in the top app bar.

5) Have questions about the Oscars?You can get the inside scoop from your Google Assistant. Just ask: “Hey Google, when are the Oscars?” or “Hey Google, who’s nominated for Animated Feature Film at the Oscars?” to hear the list of nominees. To hear some predictions ahead of the red carpet, try “Hey Google, what are your Oscar predictions? or “Hey Google, who do you think is best dressed at the Oscars?” You can also join in on the award night fun by saying, “Hey Google, give me an award.”

A closer look at the new Nest Hub’s design details

For the Nest Industrial Design team, details matter. Working on the new Nest Hub was no exception. "When we approached the design of the new Nest Hub, we wanted to give the product a lighter, more effortless aesthetic,” says team lead Katie Morgenroth. “We wanted it to feel evolved and refined, not reinvented.” Styling alone shouldn’t be the reason to replace a product, she says. “We want to make sure whether you have one Nest product or many, that they all compliment each other in your space.”

Because of this considered approach, you might not immediately notice some of the more subtle updates. We took some time to talk to Katie, as well as Industrial Design lead Jason Pi and Color and Material designer Vicki Chuang, about some of the new additions worth a second glance — or even a third, or a fourth, or a … you get the idea.

The new, cool color. The team introduced the new Mist color because it’s in the cool family, and compliments nature. It’s soothing, and almost looks like a neutral. Vicki led the color and material design, and says that atmospheric colors like Mist help express “soft feelings.” “Color enhances well-being. Mist is inspired by the sky, it compliments nature,” she says. “We started with a range of blues from light pastel to saturated blue, and the soft muted blue felt the most soothing and relaxing — a good fit for the home.”

Don’t forget the feet. Peek underneath the Nest Hub to see the silicone feet. “We try to have a little fun with color there,” Katie says. “We were inspired by the color you see when you cut into a fruit like a guava or a watermelon — it makes you smile.”

The inspiration for edgeless. Our idea for the edgeless display was the look of a piece of artwork or picture frame with a white border. The new Nest Hub has a lighter, more effortless feel, as Katie describes it. “All you see from the front is the glass. It makes the display almost feel like it’s floating.” 

Jason also adds that the general construction was an upgrade. "We’re very proud of the matte finish and silky feel of the display enclosure, which is also more sustainable even though it has a premium feel to it.” In fact, the new Nest Hub was designed with 54% of its plastic part weight made with recycled material.

A new knit. The new Nest Hub uses the same sustainable yarn recycled from PET bottles that the Minis use, just slightly modified. We used a recycled monofilament yarn, which gives the device a structure that’s ideal for sound quality. “The fabric was reengineered to be not only sustainable but also optimized for great acoustic transmission,” Vicki says.

And look a little closer…and you’ll see the team color matched the device down to the yarn level, so there’s a subtle blending effect in the overall look of the speaker. “That effect is called ‘melange’ and it’s created when there are two colors of yarn knit together to create a variation in the tone,” Katie explains. 

A hard switch. We first introduced the privacy switch with the Home Mini and it’s been a part of every Nest device since, including the new Nest Hub. The hard switch completely disables microphones, and the new Nest Hub also has added LED lights to the front of the display that indicate when the switch is on or off. This was important to the team to keep consistent across all Nest devices, because privacy isn’t something they wanted to overcomplicate. “From the beginning we always wanted to continue the precedence we set with the physical privacy button and include it on Nest Hub,” Jason says. “There is something definitive about having it be a physical switch. I also like the color pop that's visible once it’s on mute — it’s a nice, clear indicator.” Plus, it’s one more place designers get to have a little fun.

Say “Hey Google…” to the new Fiat 500 Family

For me, having a car has always been about more than driving. I like the way a car can reflect my style, and make my life easier. That’s why I was personally very intrigued when the Fiat team approached us. They wanted to see if we could work together to make the iconic Fiat 500 respond to people’s needs even better, even when they aren’t behind the wheel. The result of that work is the new Fiat 500 Family Hey Google, a special edition of the historic, yet very modern Fiat 500.

Image shows three Fiats from the Fiat 500 family driving on a bridge.

Anyone can ask Google Assistant for useful everyday information, like directions or weather updates. But thanks to the My Fiat Action, which integrates Fiat's Mopar Connect service and Google Assistant, owners of the new 500 Family Hey Google can access special features even when they aren't driving.

If you’re at home but want to check your fuel level, see if your car is locked, find the closest Fiat service station or even switch on the emergency lights, all you have to say is “Hey Google, ask My Fiat…”. Since I share my car with my partner, I know I’d be checking how full the fuel is pretty often! (Some commands aren’t available in the U.K.).

Image showing a Nest Hub with "Hey Google, ask my Fiat..." questions on the screen.

If you’re a new 500, 500X or 500L Hey Google owner, you can activate the service upon car delivery and follow the procedures from Fiat. From that moment on, you can use the My Fiat Action for Google Assistant to interact with your car by simply saying “Hey Google, ask My Fiat…” and the rest is up to you.

The new Fiat 500 Family Hey Google will soon be available in three models — 500, 500X and 500L —  in 10 European countries, including Italy, the U.K., France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland. Enjoy the ride!

Say “Hey Google…” to the new Fiat 500 Family

For me, having a car has always been about more than driving. I like the way a car can reflect my style, and make my life easier. That’s why I was personally very intrigued when the Fiat team approached us. They wanted to see if we could work together to make the iconic Fiat 500 respond to people’s needs even better, even when they aren’t behind the wheel. The result of that work is the new Fiat 500 Family Hey Google, a special edition of the historic, yet very modern Fiat 500.

Image shows three Fiats from the Fiat 500 family driving on a bridge.

Anyone can ask Google Assistant for useful everyday information, like directions or weather updates. But thanks to the My Fiat Action, which integrates Fiat's Mopar Connect service and Google Assistant, owners of the new 500 Family Hey Google can access special features even when they aren't driving.

If you’re at home but want to check your fuel level, see if your car is locked, find the closest Fiat service station or even switch on the emergency lights, all you have to say is “Hey Google, ask My Fiat…”. Since I share my car with my partner, I know I’d be checking how full the fuel is pretty often! (Some commands aren’t available in the U.K.).

Image showing a Nest Hub with "Hey Google, ask my Fiat..." questions on the screen.

If you’re a new 500, 500X or 500L Hey Google owner, you can activate the service upon car delivery and follow the procedures from Fiat. From that moment on, you can use the My Fiat Action for Google Assistant to interact with your car by simply saying “Hey Google, ask My Fiat…” and the rest is up to you.

The new Fiat 500 Family Hey Google will soon be available in three models — 500, 500X and 500L —  in 10 European countries, including Italy, the U.K., France, Spain, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands and Poland. Enjoy the ride!

Sleeping on the job: How we built the new Nest Hub

When Dr. Logan Schneider was in medical school, he didn’t get much sleep. “Residency training is a horribly draining experience where you get something like...four hours of sleep a night,” he says. It was during this time he realized how little we really know about sleep.

“I started prioritizing my own sleep, and also my wife’s and my kids’ — they’re sleeping champs!” he says. (In fact, his friends with newborns often turn to him when their babies won't sleep through the night.) Originally focusing on neurology in medical school, Logan soon became so fascinated by what he was learning about sleep that he decided to study it specifically.

Dr. Schneider is part of the Google Health team that coupled sensor research with sleep science to power contactless sleep sensing in the new Nest Hub, available beginning today. Sleep Sensing, powered by Soli technology, uses a tiny, low-energy radar system to sense motion at the micrometer level. Small motions ranging from breathing to movements are detected, while identifying features like faces aren’t, to give people information about their sleep duration, routines and quality. From this data, the Nest Hub can offer personalized suggestions like waking up at a consistent time, or exercising earlier in the day.

“When we started thinking about the second-generation Nest Hub, we noticed that nearly a quarter of people currently using Nest Hubs put their devices in their bedrooms,” says product manager Ashton Udall. “So we started to look into how we could bring more value to that part of the home.” When the Nest team surveyed users about what else they could do to make the device better for bedrooms, the top request, hands down, was for assistance with their sleep. Combined with trends showing people are getting less sleep and worse sleep, there was an obvious opportunity to help.

“It’s so exciting to be in this field right now because there are so many things we’re discovering about sleep,” says Dr. Raman Malhotra from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, who advised the Nest team throughout the development process. What the medical field is learning about sleep isn’t the only exciting thing, though. Dr. Malhotra also says it’s the fact that technology companies are increasingly interested in democratizing sleep research and helping more and more people understand their sleep. 

The number of combinations and permutations we tested in Forty Winks...it’s unfathomable. Dr. Logan Schneider

For both doctors and patients, sleep is a “black box,” as both Dr. Malhotra and Dr. Schneider explain it; if you go to a doctor and say you’re not sleeping well, it’s not as if you can give much more information than that. You know how you feel the next day, but not necessarily why. “Traditionally, we’d bring someone into a sleep lab to measure their sleep with something called a polysomnogram which is the gold standard for certain sleep disorders — but the polysomnogram has limitations, too,” says Dr. Malhotra. “Most patients don’t want to leave their house for a night and go to an unfamiliar environment. Then, of course, we’re changing what their sleep looks like — who’s going to sleep normally with wires attached to them?” And even after all that, he says, it’s difficult to learn much from just one night.

“That’s what’s so exciting about new sleep technologies,” Dr. Malhotra explains. “We can learn about how someone’s sleeping in their normal environment over a whole bunch of nights, not just one.” Plus, he says, something like the Nest Hub is accessible to far more people than a polysomnogram.

40 Winks, the sleep lab, with three beds and a bedside table set up with various Nest Hubs.

A look inside Forty Winks, Google Health’s sleep lab. 

Before the new Nest Hub could make its way into homes, the team had to get the technology ready for the real world — so into Google Health’s “sleep lab,” Forty Winks, they went. The team used the lab space to simulate various sleep environments. “There are different types of bed mattresses and frames, different types of fans, even adjustable bedside tables,” Dr. Schneider explains. “We had to create this space that we could modularly change so we could recreate as many kinds of sleeping experiences as possible. Co-sleepers, pets, different bedroom setups — all of it.” 

“The number of combinations and permutations we tested in Forty Winks...it’s unfathomable,” Dr. Schneider says. “It was incredibly complex.” For example, data was collected by the team recreating common scenarios such as reading a book or using your phone while sitting in bed, to differentiate these cases from sleep. The team also used “Chester,” a mechanical “breathing” dummy to mimic human respiration to test the Soli-based algorithms.

A dummy on a bed with a Nest Hub in the corner.

Chester, Forty Winks’s resident sleep dummy.

Given that development took place during the COVID-19 pandemic, Google Health product manager Reena Lee was initially concerned about how they would develop sleep sensing for a new hardware product while working remotely. But there was actually a silver lining in the unexpected work-from-home environment. “Googlers who were testing a beta unit at home could give real-time feedback quickly, share setup pictures, or even report issues after afternoon naps!" Reena says.

The team tested the system over hundreds of thousands of nights with thousands of people using it at home in their bedrooms. The device was also tested in a sleep clinic against polysomography, the "gold standard" Dr. Malhotra referenced, demonstrating comparable accuracy to published results for other clinical- and consumer-grade devices.

While the larger mystery of sleep likely won’t be unearthed any time soon, the team is hopeful that advancements like Sleep Sensing on the Nest Hub will help more people understand — and more importantly, prioritize — their sleep. Because, as Dr. Malhotra simply puts it, “There really is no way to replace a good night’s sleep.”

Need a better night’s sleep? Meet the new Nest Hub

A little over two years ago, I was part of the team that created Nest Hub, Google’s first smart display. Since then, we’ve been exploring ways to make these devices even more helpful. We know people already come to Google for information and tools to help them live healthier, happier lives, and we’ve specifically noticed more and more questions about sleep, exercise and health. So we decided to bring these kinds of solutions to our second-generation Nest Hub, while also improving what people already love about it. 

The Nest Hub you love, but better

The new Nest Hub’s speaker is based on the same audio technology as Nest Audio and has 50 percent more bass than the original Hub. Fill any room with music, podcasts or audiobooks from services like YouTube Music, Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora — or enjoy your favorite TV shows and movies with a subscription from providers like Netflix, Disney+ and YouTube TV. With Quick Gestures, you can pause or play content at any time by tapping the air in front of your display.

Animated gif showing someone using the Quick Gestures feature.

Nest Hub has all the smarts and helpfulness of Google Assistant. And similar to Nest Mini and Nest Audio, it now comes with a dedicated on-device machine learning chip which moves some Assistant experiences from our data centers directly onto the device, so responses to common commands become faster over time (U.S. only). 

The new Nest Hub also shows all your compatible connected devices in one place. And with a built-in Thread radio, Nest Hub will work with the new connectivity standard being created by the Project Connected Home over IP working group, making it even simpler to control your connected home. 

New sleep features for better rest

The Nest Hub has always helped you tackle the day; now, it can help you rest well at night. Many of us don’t get enough sleep, which comes with some real risks. 

As a father of two young kids, I’m especially passionate about sleep. I know I’m much more able to  show up and connect with my family and the people in my life after a healthy amount of rest. In recent years, sleep trackers have become a popular solution. But we wanted to offer an alternative way for people who may not want to wear something to bed to understand their sleep.

Image shows an infographic outlining various ailments caused by lack of sleep.

We knew people felt comfortable with Nest Hub at their bedsides thanks to its camera-free design, so we went to work. The result is Sleep Sensing, an opt-in feature to help you understand and improve your sleep:

Understand your sleep:Sleep Sensing uses Motion Sense (powered by Soli low-energy radar technology) to analyze how the person closest to the display is sleeping, based on their movement and breathing — all without a camera or wearable. Sleep Sensing can also detect sleep disturbances like coughing and snoring or the light and temperature changes in the room with Nest Hub’s built-in microphones and ambient light and temperature sensors, so you can better understand what’s impacting your sleep. 

Every morning you’ll receive a personalized sleep summary on your display, or you can view your sleep data anytime on the Nest Hub by asking, “Hey Google, how did I sleep?” Sleep Sensing can also connect to your Google Fit app on Android and iOS devices, so you can see your sleep summary alongside your other health and wellness information.

Get help for better sleep: Understanding your sleep is an important first step, but you may still have questions about what you can do to get better sleep. Sleep Sensing provides tailored bedtime schedules and personalized suggestions developed by a team of sleep scientists and using guidance from organizations like the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. Compiled after several nights of analysis, these suggestions point out notable aspects of your sleep, educate you on why they’re important and provide suggestions to improve.

Built with your privacy in mind:Sleep Sensing is completely optional with privacy safeguards in place so you’re in control: You choose if you want to enable it and there's a visual indicator on the display to let you know when it’s on. Motion Sense only detects motion, not specific bodies or faces, and your coughing and snoring audio data is only processed on the device — it isn’t sent to Google servers. You have multiple controls to disable Sleep Sensing features, including a hardware switch that physically disables the microphone. You can review or delete your sleep data at any time, and consistent with our privacy commitments, it isn't used for personalized ads.

Sleep Sensing on the second-gen Nest Hub is available as a free preview until next year. We'll also be looking for ways to work with Fitbit's sleep-tracking features in the future. 

Even if you don’t enable Sleep Sensing, you can still fall asleep and wake up easier with Nest Hub. The display dims to make your bedroom more sleep-friendly, and the “Your evening” page helps you wind down at night with relaxing sounds. When it’s time to wake up, Nest Hub’s Sunrise Alarm gradually brightens the display and increases the alarm volume. If you need a few more ZZZs, use Motion Sense to wave your hand and snooze the alarm. 

Sustainable design that matches any room

The new Nest Hub comes in a variety of colors to complement any room in the house: Chalk, Charcoal, Sand and the new Mist. It features an edgeless glass display that’s easy to clean and functions as a beautiful digital photo frame. And continuing our commitment to sustainability, Nest Hub is designed with recycled materials with its plastic mechanical parts containing 54 percent recycled post-consumer plastic.

The second-generation Nest Hub is $99.99 USD. It can be preordered online in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Germany, France and Australia at the Google Store and other retailers starting today.

Here’s how Google Assistant lent a helping hand in 2020

As we look at how people used Google Assistant this year,
We hope these reflections may bring you some cheer.
From staying in touch to cooking a meal, 
It’s clear we find many of the same things ideal.

In 2020, it felt like many of us needed a little more assistance than usual. With more time spent at home, the ways people used Google Assistant evolved to accommodate new habits and routines—and to help with this, we focused on launching new features, adding new services like Disney+, Netflix, Duo, Meet and Zoom, and creating new tools for developers. As we close out the year, we’re taking a look at the most popular ways that people used Assistant, as well as some more recent trends. 

Lending a hand to families

This year, we launched Family Notes to keep the whole house up to date and running smoothly. We also introduced Family Bell, which launched just in time for the (mostly virtual) school year and was quickly adopted to help families stay on track throughout the day. Here are the top five bells set this school year:

  1. Time for bed

  2. Time for breakfast

  3. Lunch time

  4. Dinner time

  5. Class is starting

If you're enjoying time off from work or school, today we launched the ability to pause your bells until you resume your normal routine. Simply tap the “Pause bells” banner on the Family Bell settings page. Your bells will automatically resume once the pause period is over.

And the amount of requests made to Assistant for help with spelling, using the dictionary and translations more than doubled this year. The top translation request this year was for "I love you”—and the top word that people needed help spelling? “Quarantine.” 

(As a reminder, with their parent's permission, children under 13—or the applicable age in their country—can have a personalized Google Assistant experience when they log in with their own account, powered by Family Link.)

Finding ways to keep in touch

The number of text messages sent with Assistant more than doubled in 2020; currently, “Mom” is the most-called person with Assistant. Many of us also turned to group video calls through Zoom, Google Meet and Duo to host virtual celebrations, attend workout classes and to simply catch up with loved ones.

Spending more time in the kitchen 

Recipes searched with Assistant grew over eight times this past year, and thanks to quarantine’s baking trends, banana bread is still the most requested recipe on Assistant. And because baking calls for perfect timing, more timers were set in 2020 than ever before.

Staying informed and entertained 

Streaming entertainment helped us enjoy newfound time at home, and Assistant brought us even more movies and TV shows from Disney+ andNetflix on Nest Hub devices. We told stories, too: This year, the number of stories told by Assistant increased over three times. Try it out yourself by saying, “Hey Google, tell me a story.” 

In recent trends, the top music genre is currently holiday music, followed by country, relaxing music, rock and pop. And while many of us commuted more frequently between the couch and kitchen than to and from an office, we still turned to podcasts to stay entertained and up-to-date. The most-listened to podcasts on Assistant currently are: 

  • The Daily

  • NPR

  • Savage Love

  • Joe Rogan

  • Ben Shapiro

  • Two Princes

  • This American Life

Controlling homes and devices

Assistant was even busier controlling smart home devices this year. The most popular ask was to turn the lights on or off, and many of us also asked Assistant to adjust the fan, change the temperature on the thermostat, control the TV or launch a game on Xbox.

Today, we rolled out Scheduled Actions so people can “set it and forget it.” Try asking Google to turn off the lights in 10 minutes, or at 11:25 pm on the dot; or say “Hey Google, run the fan for 20 minutes” eliminating the need to remember to turn it off later. 

We also made it easier to quickly set up many smart devices, including lights and plugs—from Philips Hue, C by GE, Yeelight, Nanoleaf, Ledvance, ABL Lighting and Energetic by Yankon—right out of the box. Supported by Seamless Setup, you can now connect your new devices to Google Assistant right from the Google Home app in just a few steps. There’s no need to download another app or install anything else. 

2020’s been a busy year for Assistant, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.