Google Releases New Nest Hub in India Without Sleep Sense Feature

Google has launched the new generation of Nest Hub smart displays in India almost a year after their US debut. However, Indian regulations prevent the company from offering the new radar-based Soli Sleep Sensing feature, the highlight of the new smart display.

No feeling of sleep

The seven-inch display in front of the fabric-covered loudspeaker looks essentially the same as on the predecessor. The improvements are mostly under the hood, but the Indian version of the new Nest Hub differs greatly from its American counterpart in the absence of the Soli Sleep Sensing feature. This opt-in tool tracks the next person’s sleep patterns. Radar measures their movement and breathing, and the AI ​​analyzes this data in combination with changes in light, temperature and noise during the night. The Nest Hub records sleep patterns and shares them with advice on how to improve sleep habits in the wellness area of ​​the smart display. Sleep sensing will be free, but Google plans to connect it to a paid service at some point. The company claims that 20% of Nest Hubs are placed next to people’s beds, making the feature worth developing.

Although all data is stored on the device and the user can delete it at any time, Soli is currently not approved for use by the Indian government so Google has disabled it for this market. And while the feature isn’t mentioned by name in the announcement, the company is hinting at it indirectly by talking a lot about how important privacy is when designing the device.

“When designing our products, we focus on three key principles: keeping your data safe, using it responsibly, and putting the user in control,” said Saurabh Arya, business manager for Google devices, in a blog post. “The new Nest Hub was designed from the ground up with privacy in mind, with controls on how your data is treated, and like the original Nest Hub, it doesn’t include a camera, so you can conveniently place it in any room in your home.”

Indian nest

The Nest Hub price of 8,000 rupees at retailers like Walmart subsidiary Flipkart is about the same as the US price of $100 in the US. India is also missing the new Mist color option, leaving only Chalk and Charcoal to choose from like the previous version. Otherwise, the upgrades are identical, including the sound tech used in the Nest Audio smart speaker, which Google claims boosts bass sound by 50%, as well as a chip that keeps some of the Google Assistant’s processing on the device so it can works faster.

Though there’s no sleep tracking, Google’s efforts to improve its place in smart homes in India fit seamlessly with its growing line of voice services. Google added Hinglish commands to the Google Pay app, which already handles a growing number of human and commercial money transactions. Now this money can be moved by asking the app through the voice recognition feature. Users just need to specify which bank and account number they want to send money to. Google Pay already understood Hindi and English, but adding the Hindi and English mixed language Hinglish greatly expands the audience.

Google Assistant has also recently started helping users set up COVID-19 vaccination appointments in India. The government’s COWIN online service has been difficult for many to use, so Google Assistant will help people fill out all forms by voice in a pilot program. Google Assistant fills out the forms and sets the vaccination date in English or one of the eight major Indian languages. While Google hopes to bring this type of feature to other countries, launching it in India makes sense given the country’s enthusiasm for voice assistants. Google reported that the number of Indians asking questions by voice is twice the global average.

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