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Smart Home

Google Assistant, Nest Hub Max and all the rest of the smart home news from Google I/O 2019

The Nest Hub Max smart display, a new brand, a faster Google Assistant and more highlight the smart home announcements from the Google I/O developer conference.

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James Martin/CNET

The dust is settling now that the Google I/O developer conference is nearing its end. At this point, we're unlikely to see any more surprises, but the announcements from the show could make a big difference for the future of Google's smart home offerings.

Here's everything smart home-related that Google announced at I/O.

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  • The Google Nest brand: The Google smart home team and the Nest team have been working together since last year. At I/O, they joined together under a single name.
  • The Nest Hub Max: The first product under the Google Nest brand, the Hub Max is a bigger version of the Google Home Hub, Google's first smart display. It responds to the same voice commands and offers the same touch controls, but it adds a Nest Cam and more powerful speakers. The Nest Cam can detect motion. You can play and pause music with a gesture. It can pan and tilt to follow you during a video call, and it can recognize your face and trigger customized notifications. It'll cost $230 and is due out this summer.
  • Price and name changes: The Google Home Hub is now the Nest Hub. It will now retail for $130 instead of $150. The original Google Home now costs $100 instead of $130 and the Google Home Max is $300 instead of $400.
  • Works with Nest is going away: Google will also encourage you to convert your Nest account to a Google account. If you have a smart home centered around a Nest product, here's what you need to know.
  • Just say stop: When a timer or alarm goes off on your smart speaker or smart display, you don't need to use the wake words anymore to get it to turn off. You can just say stop. This feature is now active.
  • More personalized advice: Your Google Assistant-powered smart display will be able to show better recommendations when you ask it for a recipe or if you search for podcasts or local events. It bases results on your search history. This upgrade is rolling out this summer.
  • More contact details: The Google Assistant app will have a new tab called "You" which will organize your activity history and privacy settings. You can also see contacts in the tab and add details and relationships. Then, ask Google Assistant for the weather near your sister's place and it can respond.
  • Native controls for more devices: Security systems, showers, microwaves, garages and more will now work more naturally with Google Assistant.
  • Privacy updates for better transparency: Google says it wants you to be aware of what data your device captures and what it does with that data, and rolled out new privacy policies for the smart home.
  • A quicker smart home: The Local Home developers kit will let developers skip the cloud for device commands. Ordinarily, you tell your Google Home to turn off a Philips Hue light bulb, and the command goes to Google's cloud, then the Philips cloud, then down to the bulb. This kit stores the command on the Google Assistant device and processes it locally, sending the command directly to the device over Wi-Fi or Bluetooth.
  • A more versatile smart home: Google showed off Google Assistant Connect, a developer kit that lets a nearby Google device handle all of the computing for a device so the developer can focus on more creative hardware.
  • Better how-tos: Your smart display is going to be more helpful in more rooms of your home. Developers can use templates to mark YouTube videos. This is meant for instructional content. With the template in place, the how-to video plays on the side of the smart display while the steps are spelled out on the right. You can skip around in the video by tapping the steps.
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While some of the developer-specific programs will need time to come to fruition, a lot of the updates to Google's smart home will be active by the time the Nest Hub Max hits store shelves this summer.

Read more: Google is replacing Works with Nest with Works with Google Assistant and it could make your smart home worse.  

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