What you need to know
- Google is adding an Air Quality Index (AQI) badge to the weather widget on Nest Hub devices for users in select U.S. markets.
- This update is an attempt by Google to provide more useful health and safety information in light of this summer's perilous wildfire season.
- According to the company, the AQI badge will be rolling out to Nest displays over the coming weeks.
This week, Google announced that it is adding a new feature to the weather widget on its Nest Hub displays called the AQI, or Air Quality Index.
The new AQI badge on the weather widget will provide users with helpful information about the air quality in their location at a glance, with a numeric ranking system from 0-500 and a color-coding system from green to maroon indicating the severity of the air quality.
As you might suspect, smaller numbers and lighter colors signify better air quality conditions, whereas larger numbers and darker colors signify worse conditions. This system is used by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to monitor and report on air quality across the country, so it makes perfect sense for Google to adopt the standard for its new alerts.
In addition to the quick-reference badge on the weather widget, Nest display owners can also ask the Google Assistant for the AQI information, with commands like "What's the air quality near me." Similarly, users can request alerts from Google Assistant when the air quality in their location drops to unsafe levels. This is expected to be particularly beneficial for groups with chronic respiratory issues, compromised immune systems, and the elderly.
Google said that one of the reasons it chose to roll out this feature now was in direct response to the terrible wildfire season that has been plaguing large portions of California and the western part of the U.S. this summer.
The AQI update will be rolling out to Nest display owners in select U.S. markets "over the coming weeks," the company said. It's not clear which markets are included in this initial rollout, but it seems safe to assume that parts of the Western U.S. would be among the first to see AQI notifications.
Google's Nest Hub devices have long been some of our favorite smart displays, particularly the Nest Hub Max. However, if you're considering a Nest display, we recommend the newer Nest Hub (2nd Gen), with its advanced Soli sensor capable of measuring and tracking your sleep habits.
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