Google Nest Hub may bring a new way to activate Assistant

Google’s Nest Hub may be getting a new feature that will make interactions more seamless, using visual contact to activate Assistant instead of the traditional hotword.

The Nest Hub (2nd gen) is already one of the best smart displays on the market. However, saying “Hey Google” dozens of times a day can quickly become a tedious waste of time. Another common complaint with virtually every smart display or hub is accidental activation when the keyword is used in conversation or on the TV. According to 9to5Google, the latest Google app beta (13.14) includes details regarding a possible “Look and Talk” that promises to address both points of irritation.

See also: Google Nest Hub Max review

Previously codenamed “Blue Steel,” — a reference to Ben Stiller’s patented look in the film Zoolander — Look and Talk will allow users to “look at the display from up to 5ft away to talk to Google.” Privacy advocates will be pleased to know the video is processed locally and not sent to Google:

How it works: Your device relies on camera sensing and analyzes your video to determine if you want to activate your Assistant. Assistant may activate when you didn’t intend it to, if it incorrectly detects you want its help. Your video is processed on-device and isn’t sent to Google servers.

The Look and Talk feature can also be paired with Face Match and Voice Match to help further reduce false activations.

If others want to use Look and Talk, they can set it up in their Home app or Assistant app settings. You can turn this feature off at any time in your Face Match settings.

9to5Google discovered the proposed feature by decompiling the latest beta version of the Google app. As a result, it’s entirely possible the feature will never see the light of day, since there’s been no official announcement yet. However, given the depth of description, not to mention the progression from codename to production name, it’s likely the feature will officially launch sooner rather than later.

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