16 fun and useful things you can do with a Google Nest Hub

Google’s Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max are all-in-one smart displays that combine a smart speaker and a touchscreen. They use the Google Assistant voice assistant to operate with voice commands and can do everything a Google Nest smart speaker does and much more.

Whether you’re the proud new owner of a Google Nest Hub or considering buying one, you’ll want to know exactly what you can do with it. Well, there’s a lot you can do with a Google Nest Hub, as you’ll soon find out.

1. Get a daily news briefing

Do you want a quick overview of current news and events? Your Google Nest Hub can read and display an overview of news on the screen. Just say “Hey Google, what’s the news?” and you will hear – and see on the screen – the latest headlines and news. You can even customize your news feed from the Google Home Android and iOS apps.

2. See weather conditions and forecasts

Are you interested in the weather? Say “Hey Google, what’s the weather like?” and your Google Nest Hub will read you the current weather conditions and forecasts and display the upcoming forecast on the screen. Swipe the screen from right to left to see the weather forecast for the next week.

3. Run your smart home devices

Google's Nest Hub controls smart devices for the home
Image credit: Google

The Google Nest Hub is a smart home hub that can control other smart home devices. Connect your smart bulbs, smart plugs, smart doorbells and smart thermostats, then use the Google Nest Hub to control it all via voice commands or on the screen.

4. Play your favorite music

Google's Nest Hub plays music
Image credit: Google

Your Google Nest Hub does a great job of streaming your favorite music. You can use the smart speaker to stream music from your favorite streaming music services, including Apple Music, Deezer, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube Music.

All you have to do is sync your Google account with your music account in the Google Home app, then you can ask Google to play a specific playlist, channel, album, artist or song. Details of the track currently playing are displayed on screen, along with on-screen playback controls, allowing you to pause the music or skip a track forward or backward.

5. Listen to podcasts

Just as you can listen to music on your Google Nest Hub, you can also listen to your favorite podcasts. Just log into your favorite podcast or streaming service, dial the podcast you want, and sit down to listen. You can also use your Nest Hub to listen to audiobooks.

6. Watch videos

Google Nest Hub Watch video
Image credit: Google

Here’s another thing you can do on a Google Nest Hub and not a Google Nest smart speaker: watch videos. Yes, the big screen is there for a reason. Use the Google Home app on your smartphone to connect to a variety of video streaming accounts, and then you can call your favorite videos to your Nest Hub with a simple voice command.

Google lets you watch videos from Apple TV, Disney+, HBO Max, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount+, Sling TV, and of course Google’s YouTube and YouTube TV. Just say to the smart speaker “Hey Google, play Stranger Things on Netflix” or something similar, and your hub will open this service and start playing.

But that’s not all, you can also queue videos on your Nest Hub. You can e.g. say “Hey Google, show me some football videos” – sit back, relax and enjoy a stream of related videos to keep you entertained throughout the day. If you have the Nest Hub Max, the device will be able to recognize the different voices and faces of people in your household. So if you like football but other members don’t, their video recommendations will be different.

7. Cast content

In addition to watching videos on Google’s Nest Hub, you can stream content there via the Google Home app. In fact, the Nest Hub is also a Chromecast device once it’s added to the Google Home app.

Use your phone to select a video from sites like Plex, YouTube, etc., then select the cast icon on your phone to stream it to your Nest Hub.

8. Make a digital photo frame

What does your Google Nest Hub do when it’s sitting there waiting for your next command? This large display can act as a digital photo frame, pulling images from your Google Photos account and displaying them for all to see. Your Hub will randomly scroll through your photos and can even create interesting photo montages and combinations, all automatically.

9. Join Zoom and Google video chats

Video calling from Google's Nest Hub
Image credit: Google

If you have a Google Nest Hub Max, you can use your device to participate in video chats and video meetings. In fact, the Hub Max has an integrated webcam. The regular Google Nest Hub doesn’t have one and can’t do video chat.

So far, the Hub Max supports video calls via Google Duo, Google Meet and Zoom.

To learn more about how to get the most out of Google’s chat service, read our tips for improving the Google Meet experience.

You need to connect your account to your Google account via the Google Home smartphone app, then you can start a meeting by saying “Hey Google, start a meeting”.

You will then be prompted to tap the Meet or Zoom card on the screen. Follow the on-screen instructions to invite others and start the meeting.

For one-to-one Google Duo calls to other Duo users, just say “Hey Google, call John Smith” using the name of the person you’re calling.

If you have other Google Nest devices, with or without a screen, in your home, you can connect them to a high-tech intercom system. Say “Hey Google, broadcast,” then start speaking, and your message will be heard on all Google Nest devices in your home.

11. Answer your doorbell

Google Nest Hub reacts to Nest doorbell camera
Image credit: Google

If you have a Google Nest doorbell, you can see who is ringing your doorbell on the Google Nest Hub screen. You can then speak directly to the person who shows up at your door. You can even activate the live camera to keep an eye on what’s happening right outside your door.

12. Help you cook

Google Nest Hub with a gumbo recipe

Put a Google Nest Hub in your kitchen and you can use it to help you cook. Find and view your favorite recipes, then review them on screen, often with step-by-step video instructions. You can even use the Hub’s voice-activated alarms and timers to ensure your cooking is as accurate as possible.

13. Monitor your sleep

Sleep tracking with Google's Nest Hub
Image credit: Google

If you have a second generation Google Nest Hub (not the Hub Max), you can use your smart screen to monitor your sleep. The Nest Hub features Soli sleep sensor technology to track your movements while you sleep. Built-in sensors detect changes in light and temperature, changes in your breathing, snoring and other sounds, and other sleep disturbances, without any annoying sleep monitoring equipment attached to your body.

Do this for several nights and Google’s Nest Hub will learn your sleep patterns. This allows it to make personalized recommendations to help you get a better night’s sleep. It also generates a daily report detailing the data it collects. If you have trouble sleeping, this could be a game changer.

14. Translate foreign languages

Need some help learning key phrases in another language or easily translating text? Since Nest Hub is powered by Google Assistant, you can translate words and phrases with Google in real time. Just say “Hey Google, be my French translator” (or any other language) and you’ll be prompted to say what you want to translate.

While the translation is useful, the Nest Hub takes it a step further and displays the translation as it is read.

15. Hand gesture control

With Nest Hub Max or Nest Hub (2nd generation) you can control the smart screen with simple hand movements. To pause what’s playing on the screen, just raise your hand (Nest Hub Max) or press the air in front of the screen (Nest Hub 2nd generation). To resume playback, raise your hand again (Nest Hub Max) or tap the air again (Nest Hub). This feature is especially useful for people who have their Nest Hub in the kitchen and don’t want to touch it after preparing a meal.

In addition to controlling media, you can use the same gestures to stop Google Assistant from speaking or to stop timers.

16. Voice Match and Face Match

Nest Hub Max voice and face matching
Image credit: Google

Google Assistant can enhance your experience if you have Nest Hub Max by identifying you via your voice and face. To use Face Match, Voice Match must be enabled. This allows Google Assistant to recognize you when you ask questions such as “Hey Google, what are the upcoming events on my calendar?” which is particularly useful in multi-person households.

When Face Match is enabled, your Nest Hub Max is able to proactively show you personalized content without you having to ask. Instead, it will show calendar events or tasks on the screen when it recognizes your face.

Google’s Nest Hub: More than just a smart speaker with a screen

These are just a few of the many things you can do with Google’s Nest Hub. The possibilities are almost endless – if you’re not sure if the hub does it, just say “Hey, Google” and ask.

This touch screen makes the Nest Hub much more functional than a normal smart speaker.

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