By: Rida Hassan and Nina Chiang
This year’s “Made by Google” hardware event featured a number of major announcements in the smart home space. Throughout the day, Google placed significant emphasis on new initiatives in sustainability and environmental awareness, demonstrating in one instance how it was using 100% recycled plastic in the fabrics of Google Nest products.
Google also highlighted its focus on building smart and helpful homes that function as a well-knit technological net for daily household activities. Rishi Chandra, VP of Google Nest, covered four major areas of change: improvements to user privacy and the release of new versions of the Google Nest Mini, Nest Aware, and Nest Wifi.
As user privacy remains one of the major concerns and barriers to smart home adoption, Google announced new security measures that 3rd party partners would have to pass in order to collaborate with Nest devices. All third-party apps must now complete a rigorous security review before they can receive access to Nest devices.
Google Nest Mini
At $49, the new and improved second-generation Google Nest Mini (previously Google Home Mini) comes with a few new upgrades:
- integrated wall mount
- better sound quality with 2x times the bass
- a new pale blue color called ‘Sky’
- a third mic so it can hear you better in more noisy environments, and
- a new dedicated learning chip for up to 1 TeraOPS (Tera Operations Per Second) of computing power
The Mini’s new learning chip allows it to process your most commonly used Google Assistant commands, meaning shorter wait times for your family as the system learns what you like to do as you interact with your smart home AI.
Google Nest Aware
Combined with Nest smart cameras, a Nest Aware subscription is able to provide event-based alerts and cloud storage for camera history. As of this writing, Nest Aware pricing is divided into three subscription tiers: 5-day, 10-day, and 30-day. To simplify the subscription model, Google announced it would be changing into a new subscription model that would cover all devices.
Beginning early 2020, Nest users will be able to convert their existing plan into one of two new subscription plans: Nest Aware or Nest Aware Plus.
The Nest Aware plan is priced at $6 per month (or $60 per year) and features 30 days of event-based recording. Google defines event-based recording as any video that is recorded only when the camera detects activity, such as when a car or person passes by.
Users with a need for double the event-based recording time (60 days) can upgrade to Nest Aware Plus, which also doubles the price but includes an additional 10 days of 24/7 continuous video recording.
Both the Nest Aware and Nest Aware Plus plans cover any number of cameras in your Nest system, and include additional features such as emergency calling and smoke/carbon monoxide alarm detection.
Google Nest Wifi
Previously known as Google Wifi, Nest Wifi is by Google’s accounts, the #1 mesh wifi router in the U.S and Canada.
At Made by Google, Google announced that Google Wifi users will now only require one Nest Wifi Router and one or more Nest Wifi points to extend coverage as needed. Currently, users have to buy multiple Google Wifi routers in order to extend coverage throughout a home/office.
According to Google, a single router and only one Wifi Point can cover 85% of most U.S homes. The new hardware in Nest Wifi boasts up to 2x speed and up to 25% better coverage when compared to the 1st generation Google Wifi.
Nest Wifi also underwent some aesthetic changes on its shell, coming decked out in a sleek new white color. The Wifi Points also come in white, pale blue, and pale pink. Google has released details on the coverage specs and pricing on the new Nest Wifi routers and Wifi Points.
|1 Nest Wifi Router||Up to 2200 square feet||$169|
|1 Nest Wifi Router and 1 Wifi Point||Up to 3800 square feet||$269|
|Nest Router and 2 Points||Up to 5400 square feet||$349|
|Single Nest Wifi Point||Up to an additional 1600 square feet||$149|
Nest Wifi is currently available for pre-order, and will become available on November 4th.
Another plus with Nest Wifi is its integrated Google Assistant, so that the Nest Wifi can be used like a Nest Mini. We will look to test out and report on Nest Wifi and its integration with 3rd party devices in the days ahead.