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 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 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, 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. That said, this feature could expand to Google's rumored Nest Hub tablet that will reportedly run Android 13.
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Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He has been writing about consumer tech and apps for as long as he can remember, and he has used a variety of Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. Send him a direct message via Twitter or LinkedIn.