Quite a few noteworthy things happened at today’s Google I/O event, including some sheer breakthroughs in the way the company processes, stores, and protects data… however on the hardware front, the Nest Hub Max may have been the keynote’s biggest reveal. Google’s shifted all its home accessories to the Nest brand, leaving core operations to Google, and hardware for homes to its then-thermostat-and-security company, Nest. The Nest Hub Max is in, a lot of ways like the Google Home Hub, but takes the mantle from its predecessor and introduces some pretty big changes to it.
First of all, the Nest Hub Max is a pretty large pivot from the Home Hub in terms of visual privacy. While the Home Hub was constantly touted as a camera-less smart home device that didn’t capture you or what you did, the latest Nest Hub Max does quite the opposite. It comes with a camera that sports facial recognition, allowing you to make and receive calls, interact with the display in ways that seemed impossible before, and to an extent even control how the Hub Max behaves around different members of your family.
In many ways, the Nest Hub Max is like a smartphone for your house. Used collectively by all members of the family, the Nest Hub Max combines all of Google and Android’s stellar products/features into one package that sits on your kitchen tabletop, or your coffee table, or even your mantelpiece.
The Nest Hub Max serves all the purposes its previous iteration did. It plays videos, music, allows you to control smart-home equipment, set reminders, wallpapers, and now, even allows you to video call. The device packs a better set of speakers now, making it a much more capable playback device, and sports facial and gesture recognition. However, given the company’s reputation of knowing absolutely everything about you, some would find the Hub Max disconcerting. The device greets you by name when you enter the room, which obviously means it stores facial recognition data… a fact that might give some people chills. The device does come with a switch at the back that allows you to disconnect the camera and microphone (so the product isn’t perpetually watching and listening to you), but that’s hardly reassuring for most people like me. Would I trade that level of privacy for some incredibly useful features to make my home and my family feel enriched? Maybe not… but there are certainly people out there who’d love to own this cutting-edge tech in their homes.
Designer: Google Nest
Image Credits: The Verge