Image source: Google

Google’s new Nest Hub comes with contactless sleep tracking

Despite what some might think, Google is continually working on improving its health and fitness offering. The company has just announced the second generation Nest Hub with radar-like sleep tracking functionality. This comes hot on the heels of a new Wellness section for Google Assistant that was introduced in January.


Nest Hub 2

The new and improved $100 Google Nest Hub has arrived. Hardware improvements include an edge-less glass front and speakers with 50% more bass. You can control music playback simply by waving your hand in front of the screen courtesy of built-in motion sensors. Everything should be faster now as Google has moved some of the processing from the data centre to the device itself.

Nest Hub 2 comes in a choice between four colours. This includes a new Mist, along with Chalk, Charcoal and Sand. The company says everything is built from environmentally friendly recycled materials.

google updates its assistant with a new wellness section - Google's new Nest Hub comes with contactless sleep tracking
Image source: Google

For us, the most interesting part of the thing is the sleep sensing technology. It uses something Google refers to as Motion Sense. This is powered by Soli – a miniature, low-energy radar that sits in the front of the device enabling it to track movements while you are in bed. All that you need to ensure is that the Nest Hub is on the bedside table pointing towards you.

The tech is very sensitive. It can even figure out when you are coughing or snoring. There are also microphone, light and temperature sensors for a more complete picture of your sleep.

Essential reading: The best gadgets for advanced sleep monitoring

Because of the way it works, Sleep Sense tracks only for one person. If two are sharing the bed, the device will show a sleep and breathing pattern report in the morning for the person closest to the device. For a report, simply say ““Hey Google, how did I sleep?” Nest Hub also syncs data with your Google Fit account.

The feature can be used as a free preview in 2021. The smart display does not utilise a camera and you can always opt out. Google says in the blog post that it will look to integrate Sleep Sense with Fitbit’s wellness features in the coming months.


A new Wellness section for Google Assistant

The company is obviously upping its efforts on the health front. In January this year, the search giant introduced a new Wellness section for Google Assistant. This replaces the Sleep section that was unveiled last November. Hence Sleep is the only metric that is currently available.

But this is only a first step and you’ll soon be able to do much more. In the accompanying text, Google teases that the Wellness section will allow you to show data such as physical activity, nutrition and more. The aim is for this to ultimately become the control hub for showing your health data on smart displays.

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All the data is gathered from health and fitness devices and shown on compatible smart displays. The virtual assistant shows a range of available devices. You are able to control which of these will proactively show the data.

For now the options that show are Nest Hub, the Nest Hub Max and the Lenovo Smart Clock. The settings are accessible from the app, but they don’t actually do anything yet as the features have not gone live. Presumably anything with a Google Assistant smart display will soon be able to show the data.

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There’s also an option that allows integration with Fitbit. You can expect more of the same in the near future, as the duo has recently announced a completion of the takeover. Fitbit is now part of Google.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets

The search giant does warn that anyone using these smart displays will be able to see the information. So keep that in mind when enabling.

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