Google Nest Hub Max

Look and talk: How will Google’s new Nest Hub Max feature work?

If you’re a big fan of the Nest Hub Max, “OK Google” and “Hey Google” will probably be an inevitable part of your daily routine. There are no other ways to invoke Google Assistant than using two words.

However, if you’re bored with the default wake up words, Google’s new Look and Talk feature offers a new way for Nest Hub Max owners to use the smart speaker. Here’s what we know so far.

What is Look and Talk on the Nest Hub Max?

The Look and Talk feature on the Nest Hub Max is exactly what it says on the label. It’s the promise to skip the hassle of using a wake-up word to start a conversation with your Google Assistant. Instead of saying beep before issuing the command, the new feature will let you look at the Hub Max and issue commands.

Yes, it seems to be a feature that may cause a lot of false triggers while having a conversation at home. However, Google says it has a good filtering system in place to avoid such clashes. Look and Talk uses a wide range of environmental inputs to determine when it’s relevant and when to have a conversation with someone. Wondering how this would work? Google says it uses inputs from the Nest Hub Max camera and microphone.

always watching camera

To make the Look and Talk feature possible, the Nest Hub’s camera is a vital piece of the puzzle. To accurately determine whether you’re speaking to the Nest Hub, Google uses your camera to check your proximity to the Nest Hub, lip movement, head direction, and gaze direction. It combines these camera inputs with those received from your microphone to make an overall accurate guess of your intentions.

Make a video today

To use the Look and Talk feature, Nest Hub Max users will have to sign up to use it and must have both Voice Match and Face Match enabled on their devices. Face Match is only available on the Hub Max because the Nest Hub does not have a camera.

As exciting as this may be, it raises an important privacy question. Is our privacy gradually being undermined? First, we gave our voice to a microphone that was always listening. Now we can give a lot to a constantly watching camera. What could possibly go wrong?

What can go wrong?

Google legitimately needs your camera and microphones to always be active (or at least regularly) to be able to pick up the inputs you need to pull off this new functionality. However, a camera that is always watching does not look like a good combination with an internet-connected device.

But Google emphasized that it “built Look and Talk with your privacy in mind.” The feature will use on-device processing which means that your video data will not be sent to the cloud where it can be vulnerable to prying eyes.

Also, the Nest Hub Max comes with a green indicator light that turns on whenever a recording is in progress. This should alert the user if a malicious third party somehow gains access to the Hub Max’s video or audio feed.

A new way to use the Nest Hub Max

If privacy is a non-negotiable topic for you, you can still enjoy the Nest Hub Max without the Look and Talk feature. However, if using the default wake up words is a bit boring for you, feel free to try Look and Talk.


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2022-05-13 17:30:00

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