Google debuted a device called the Nest Hub Max at its Google I/O developer conference on Tuesday. It’s the first product under the new Google Nest brand, which combines the formerly distinct Google smart home and Nest teams—Nest will be the brand going forward for Google’s home products — last year’s Home Hub is getting renamed to be called the Google Nest Hub, alongside a newly announced, larger Nest Hub Max product that Google just unveiled onstage.
As its name suggests, the Nest Hub Max looks to be a larger, more capable version of last year’s Google Home Hub. It has a 10-inch HD screen, which makes it better suited for shared spaces like the kitchen or a large living room. The Hub Max features a 10-inch high-definition touchscreen, powerful speakers, always-listening microphones and an embedded camera that can recognize your face. Unlike the Home Hub—the Nest Hub Max can play videos and show off your Photos collection, just in larger form factor. It also has light sensors so the screen’s brightness and warmth will adjust appropriately according to its surroundings.
However, the size is not the Nest Hub Max’s only differentiator. The camera which is a (6.5-megapixels), which the Home Hub does not. Much like a Nest Cam, which makes the Hub Max is the smartest cam on any smart display. It can recognize your face, and you can also use it as a security monitor and get alerts if it detects motion. It’s also smart enough to recognize gestures and track your motion if you’re moving around while on a video call
Like a lot of other Google Smart Displays, you can also use the camera to make video calls via Google Duo. What’s unique with the Nest Hub Max is that it has a unique feature called Auto Framing that essentially follows your face as you move around a room, automatically centering it. It seems to be very similar to the camera-panning trick that’s in Facebook’s Portal. Another unique Nest Hub Max feature is Quick Gestures. Instead of just using your voice to control the video or music, you can just look at it and raise your hand.
In addition to disabling Face Match, you can use the settings in the Google Home app to disable any drop-in viewing of the camera — so you won’t be able to check on the live feed of the cam when you’re out and about.
You’ll also find a tab in the Google Assistant app settings called “You.” While the tab can help you see more personalized search results and organize your contacts, it will also house your activity history and privacy settings in one place so you can easily make changes.
Price and availability
The Nest Hub Max will be available for $229 later this summer. Also, last year’s Home Hub is getting renamed to Nest Hub, and is now available for just $129 (It was previously $149). It is shipping to 12 new countries: Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain and Sweden. Last but not least, the pricing for Google Home is now $99 and the Google Home Max is now $299.
However, the device already looks promising and it offers a surprisingly meaty set of new features for the price. Unfortunately, it’ll only come in charcoal and chalk when it goes on sale, meaning the Home Hub’s gorgeous mint and “sand” (pink) colors aren’t options here.