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” are probably an inevitable part of your daily routine. There’s no other way to invoke the Google Assistant than using either of the wake words.

However, if you’ve grown bored of the default wake words, Google’s new Look and Talk feature will provide a new way for Nest Hub Max owners to use the smart speaker. Here’s what we know so far.

What is look and say on the Nest Hub Max?

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

Yes, it seems this is a feature that can cause multiple false activations while you are chatting at home. However, Google says it has a good filtering system in place to avoid such conflicts. Look and Speak uses a range of inputs in the environment to determine when a command is used for that command and when you are simply chatting with someone. Wondering how it will work? Google says it uses input from the Nest Hub Max’s microphone and camera.

The camera is always watching

To make it possible to See and Speak, the Nest Hub’s camera is an important piece of the puzzle. To accurately determine if you’re talking to the Nest Hub, Google uses your camera to determine your proximity to the Nest Hub, lip movement, head orientation, and gaze direction. It combines these camera inputs with those received from your microphone to make an accurate prediction of your intentions.


To use Look and Talk, Nest Hub Max users will have to choose to use the feature and must enable both Voice Match and Face Match on their devices. Face Match is only available on the Hub Max because the Nest Hub doesn’t have a camera.

As interesting as this can be, it raises an important question of privacy. Our privacy is gradually being chipped away? First, we passed our audio to an always-listening microphone. Now we can give even more to an always-on camera. What could go wrong?

What could be wrong?

Google legally needs your camera and microphone to stay active (or at least often) in order to be able to capture the necessary inputs to perform this new function. However, an always-on camera doesn’t seem like a good match for a device connected to the Internet.

But Google has emphasized that it has “built the Interface and Talk feature with your privacy in mind.” This feature will use on-device processing, which means your video data won’t be sent to the cloud, which can be vulnerable to prying eyes.

In addition, the Nest Hub Max has a green indicator light that comes on whenever recording is in progress. This will 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 Nest Hub Max

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


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