Google Nest Hub Overview: Energy saving in the smart home?
The Google Nest Hub and Google Nest Hub Max are smart display dashboards that allow you to watch videos, listen to your favourite tunes and control your smart devices. They can also help you reduce your energy use and save money in the process. Read on and decide whether you’re ready to join the smart home revolution.
What is a Google Nest Hub?
The Google Nest Hub is a starter base for all your smart home needs. With a few taps on its touchscreen or using voice command over Google Assistant, you’re able to control any wifi-connected smart TVs, lighting, thermostats, cameras and more. At the time of writing, Google’s Assistant works with over 10,000 devices made by more than 1,000 different brands.
How can the Google Nest Hub save me money?
With more and more customers waking up to the fact that with just a few minor adjustments to their habits, they can save a lot on their energy bills, small investments in energy-saving smart home technology could end up paying for themselves over the course of just a couple of years. Many energy suppliers even offer their own apps that allow you to see your weekly energy usage, right on the your mobile phone screen.
Install a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat, such as one of the Honeywell Home or Nest models offers the ability to control your heating remotely through a smartphone app.
With Honeywell’s latest offerings, users can adjust the temperature through voice control and enable flexible scheduling based on habits, so that the thermostat automatically turns the heating up or down depending on the time of day. Another bonus is that if it is connected to your smartphone, it will switch to Eco Mode if it detects you are away from home by monitoring your phone’s geolocation.
You can see how much energy you’re using to heat your home every day and learn from how to cut down with Google’s own Nest Learning Thermostat. During the first couple of weeks after being set up, it will get to learn your schedule and energy use patterns. A leaf icon will show up on the display when you are saving energy compared to your usual habits. As a Google product, all Nest thermostats integrate nicely with the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max.
Did you know..?Turning the room temperature down by just 1 ̊C can save you up to 10% on your bills!
Swap out your old light bulbs for smart bulbs
One of the simplest ways to save energy (and money!) is by switching out traditional incandescent light bulbs for smart LED bulbs, such as the Philips Hue, TP-Link or LIFX ranges. As well as having the ability to adjust brightness and change colours, these bulbs can be paired and grouped with Google Home, which allows the user to create routines and even turn on and off all lights in one tap, ensuring you’re not wasting electricity, even when you’re out of the house.
By using the Voice Match feature on the Google Nest Hub, you can even set up commands to create personalised routines. For example, you could turn off all your lights and turn down the thermostat just by saying “Hey Google, goodnight”.
Energy-saving tipInstall smart light switches and smart plugs in your home to get the most out of your smart bulbs. Smart switches add features such as dimming, while smart plugs allow you to turn a regular lamp into a smart lamp. Certain models will also allow you to keep on top of your energy consumption right from your Google Nest home hub.
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Can I trust the Google Nest Hub with my data?
Although for many users the priority will be reducing utility bill costs, you’ll also be helping the planet by saving energy. What’s not to love? Well, many Google Nest Hub reviews cite privacy concerns, for a start.
We may not like to admit it, but the majority of us don’t read through all the terms and conditions, so what are you actually signing up for when it comes to privacy and data being shared with third parties through the Google Nest Hub?
Google has attempted to address privacy issues with both devices allowing the inbuilt microphone to be muted at the touch of a physical switch, while the camera on the Google Nest Hub Max can also be disabled the same way.
Beyond this, Google’s privacy controls for individual accounts have been tightened and made clearer to understand in recent times. Although it does monitor daily internet usage and behaviours for targeted advertising, Google claims that it does not use collected facial recognition data for this purpose.
Even with these security measures, at the end of the day, it’s down to the individual user to make the choice over which they value more - convenience or privacy.
Is the Google Nest Hub worth it?
When it comes to price, the Google Nest Hub is currently available in the Google online store for £79.99, while the Google Nest Hub Max comes in at £179. The initial outlay may put you off investing in smart home products, but it’s all about playing the waiting game and benefiting from the long-term energy savings here.
Many energy firms have even partnered with tech companies and often give away or heavily discount many smart products such as the Nest Thermostat and Google Nest Hub as an extra on their tariffs.
You’ll also periodically find the Google Nest Hub and Google Nest Hub Max at a knocked-down price, particularly during the Black Friday and post-Christmas sales, so if you feel you can’t justify its current cost, it may be better waiting until you find it at a reduced price.
To get your smart home set up, you’ll need an existing active internet connection and a smartphone with the Google Home application installed. Also, don’t forget to look out for the ‘works with Google Assistant’ label to ensure the product you’re buying is compatible with your Google Nest Hub.
Is there a monthly fee for Google Nest hub?
While there is no monthly fee to use the Google Home service, you will need to have an active internet connection up and running.
Streaming music and podcast services such as Spotify are also free to use on Google Nest Hub devices, though you’ll require a monthly paid subscription if you want ad-free listening.
This year, the Google Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max became the first smart displays to receive Netflix support, joining other on-demand video streaming services already available on the device, such as Disney Plus and Now TV. All of these options require a subscription, though free trials are available before you take the plunge and commit to a monthly or annual fee.
What’s the difference between Google Nest Hub and Google Nest Hub Max?
With a screen measuring 10 inches, compared to the Google Nest Hub’s 7-inch display, the most striking thing about the Google Nest Hub Max is its size. Although it may not sound like much, both the display and the weight make a big difference between the two.
While the Google Nest Hub can be easily placed on a bedside table or a corner of the kitchen, the Google Nest Hub Max becomes the centrepiece of a room.
If you can’t live without your music, the Google Nest Hub Max’s speaker also really stands out. It includes a woofer and front-facing stereo speakers, which makes it one of the best Google products so far in terms of audio quality.
Unlike its big brother, the Google Nest Hub does not come with a camera, which means no Zoom or Skype video calling or physical gesture recognition. The camera on the Google Nest Hub Max can also function as a security camera, which will send alerts to your phone if it spots anyone it doesn’t recognise.
Both the camera and mic can be disabled, so if you’re someone who doesn’t like to feel they’re being watched by Google’s all-seeing eye all the time, this is certainly something to keep in mind.
In summary, the main reason to opt for the Google Nest Hub Max over the standard Google Nest Hub is its larger display, sound quality and its video calling capability and facial recognition features, through its camera. So, if it’s all about music, movies, Zoom calls and home security for you, this is the better choice of the two.
How to set up your Google Nest Hub
Maybe you’ve read this article and decided to rush out and buy the Google Nest Hub, or perhaps Santa’s been kind enough to gift you one for Christmas. Either way, you’re going to need some help getting set up. Read on to make sure you get your Google Nest Hub up and running smoothly.
- Firstly, you’re going to want to install the Google Home app on your smartphone or tablet. Once you’ve downloaded it from either the App Store or Google Play, open the app and tap the ‘device found’ text.
- Next, you’ll experience a short wait before both devices are linked. You should see a four-digit code on both the Google Nest Hub and the Google Home app. Make sure these codes are matching before tapping ‘yes’ in the bottom right of the touchscreen.
- The next screen you will see on the app will ask if you would like to ‘help improve’ Google Nest Hub by opting in to share device stats and crash reports. This is entirely up to you, and if you’d prefer not to share any information, it won’t affect your Google Nest Hub experience.
- Following this, you will be asked to name which room the device will be placed in. You can choose from the premade list or create your own name if you prefer.
- Next, you’ll be prompted to opt-in to Voice Match, to receive personalised notifications based on voice recognition. Again, this is optional, so if you prefer not to have your voice recognition data kept on Google’s servers, tap ‘No thanks’.
- The next screen will enable you to select which video and music services you would like to link up, such as Spotify and YouTube.
- If you plan to make phone calls using your Nest Hub, now is your opportunity to get set up on Google Duo. This allows you to make voice and video calls. If you do not think you’ll need this, or would prefer to set up later, you can skip this screen.
- Now you can set up whether you would like to use your own pictures through Google Photos or images from Google’s stock image gallery while the Nest Hub is in digital photo frame mode. If you prefer, you can also use the clock option, so the screen just displays the time when not in use.
- Finally, you’ll see a list of all the actions you have agreed to throughout set up. If you are happy with this, you can tap ‘complete set up’ and enter tutorial mode to learn how to use the Google Nest Hub.
- Once all your smart home devices are linked to the Nest Hub, you’re ready to start saving energy and money!