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Second Generation Google Nest Hub announced with sleep sensing and improved audio

After launching the original back in 2018, Google has announced a new Nest Hub today.

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The second generation Nest Hub features a similar form-factor with an edgeless glass, LED display which is great for viewing your photos on – or even streaming the latest shows from Netflix, Disney+ and Stan.

For the new nest Hub, Google has retained features like the Ambient IQ screen sensing tech which matches the brightness and colour of lighting in the room to what is shown on the display, but they’ve also amped up features like the sound which is now louder with up to 50% more bass.

As with the original Nest Hub, the unit has no on-board camera which makes it a great device to use in the bedroom – especially with the Bedtime hub with fast access to things you need at bedtime like smarthome controls for lights, alarm settings and even ambient noise routines. Google is adding a new feature for those who do use the Nest Hub in the bedroom though with a new Sleep Sense feature, which can track your sleep and offer insight into how to improve your sleep quality.

Google will display the Sleep Sense feature within the Google Fit app on your devices, as well as on the on-board display.

To start with, Sleep Sense is opt-in, and you can also do a number of things to disable it – including hitting the physical mic disable button – right off the bat. 

Sleep Sense is powered by the Soli radar sensor which launched on the Pixel 4. The sensor doesn’t ‘see’ you, but can sense you – well enough to tell what stage sleep you’re in, and if you’re snoring, coughing and more. It’s not going to diagnose sleep apnea, but it can definitely tell when you’re snoring. 

The sensor may have some cross-over with a partner in the same bed, but is designed to track one person at a time. Google will use all of the tools at their disposal to disambiguate the information so you can get good information. 

The Sleep Sense feature will be free for a year – but Google hasn’t announced what users will be charged for using the feature at the end of the 12 months, or even IF they will be charged. It’s a concern to be reliant on a service that may become paid down the track, but could offer some great insights into sleep behaviours for those needing them.

A new feature for the Nest Hub, reflective of its place in a modern smartphone, is the inclusion of built-in Thread radio. The Thread radio is part of Google’s inclusion in Project CHIP. CHIP, or the Connected Home over IP group is a consortium of some of the biggest names in smart home tech including Amazon, Apple and Google of course, as well as the Zigbee Alliance. The CHIP project is basically to try to make smart home devices more accessible, and easily inter-connected with each others services.

While the Nest Hub (2nd Gen) is available in four colours in the US: Chalk, Charcoal, Sand and the new Mist. Google will only offer the Chalk (grey) and Charcoal (Black) models here in Australia.

The second-generation Nest Hub is priced at $149. It can be pre-ordered online in Australia at the Google Store, as well as through other retailers from today.

Second Generation Google Nest Hub announced with sleep sensing and improved audio
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