A device with a motion sensor that stands next to the bed and spits out a performance report every morning – you could get the wrong idea. But Google’s latest development is suitable for young people, is also suitable for singles and measures a rather harmless activity: sleep. But why should you put a gadget with a microphone in your bedroom that listens constantly and registers even the smallest movements under the covers?
Google believes the Nest Hub can provide an answer. According to studies, every third adult sleeps too little. This increases the risk of developing dementia or developing a heart condition and results in thousands of fatal car accidents every year. That’s why Google created a device to help people sleep better.
At first glance, the new Nest Hub looks similar to the first generation: a smart display that other manufacturers also build. You can watch YouTube and Netflix videos, listen to music and ask the built-in Google Assistant for advice. Although half the world makes video calls in the home office, Google does without a camera. That’s smart, because the Nest Hub only unfolds its potential on the bedside table. Most people there prefer to remain unobserved.
No puffing, no snoring goes unnoticed
For the sleep sensor, Google relies on an old friend: the Soli chip, which was already used in pixel cell phones. The radar system detects whether you are rolling around in bed and the rhythm at which your chest is lifting. Together with the microphone that records snoring and coughing, the Nest Hub should be able to record the quality of sleep. It actually works in the test. If you wake up exhausted, the evaluation usually sees a restless night.
This is followed by three questions. First, do I need a device that tells me why I’m tired or do I just go to bed earlier the next evening? Second: Do I trust Google that all data is processed locally and only an abstract sleep diagram ends up on Google’s servers? Third: Is the self-measurement worth 100 euros and from next year possibly a paid subscription that Google has not yet made a final decision on? Those who answer yes three times are well served with the Nest Hub. If you have any doubts, you could try to ban the smartphone from the bedroom instead of buying more technology – that should have helped.