What you need to know
- The Nest Hub Max might soon allow users to launch Google Assistant just by glancing at it.
- Google is supposedly close to releasing the new feature called "Look and Talk."
- It appears to have been in the works since late 2020.
The Nest Hub Max (opens in new tab) is currently Google's only smart display with a camera onboard for video calling and gesture controls. But that feature may become a lot more useful soon as Google appears to be preparing a clever way to activate Assistant on the device without using a hot word.
9to5Google (opens in new tab) reports that the latest beta version of the Google app contains a new reference to a feature called "Look and Talk," which will obviously enable users to summon Assistant just by looking at the smart display.
It's the same feature that leaked in late 2020 (opens in new tab), though it was codenamed "Blue Steel" at the time, presumably in reference to the movie "Zoolander."
According to the new evidence, users will need to be within 5 feet of the Nest Hub Max for the feature to work. The device's camera will then determine whether you want to activate its voice assistant.
The feature also addresses potential privacy concerns by performing all video processing locally, preventing the device from sending your data to Google's servers.
It will also presumably rely on the Face Match and Voice Match features to ensure that it's really you who's attempting to trigger Assistant. Nonetheless, others can use "Look and Talk" by configuring it in the Home app or Assistant app settings.
Once it rolls out, the new camera sensing capability will expand your options for launching Assistant on the Nest Hub Max. Currently, the most popular method is to say "Hey Google" before giving your voice command.
It looks like Google has been working on this new way to summon Assistant for quite some time, and the latest discovery suggests that the feature is nearing a public release.
However, except for the Nest Hub Max, it is unlikely to be available on any of Google's other smart displays (opens in new tab). That said, this feature could expand to Google's rumored Nest Hub tablet (opens in new tab) that will reportedly run Android 13.
Nest Hub Max
Where the Nest Hub Max falls short in size, it makes up for it in intelligence and video calling. Thanks to its excellent camera, you'll always be in focus and in the frame during video calls.
Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He is a tech journalist based in the Philippines who has been writing about consumer tech for the past six years and has been using various Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. When he's not writing, he likes to spend time outside, stealing scenes with his phone camera.
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