10 things to do on Nest Hub with Google Assistant

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Google Assistant + Nest Hub(smart display) is = a great Sous-chef.

The basic idea behind the Google Nest Hub is simple: take a smart speaker and put a screen on it. Well, there’s something more going on here than just a screen for the Google Assistant, though. These Smart Displays run Fuchsia, a new OS based on Android and designed for Internet of Things devices. That means Google has a new canvas for Google Assistant to work with, unencumbered with the need to support any of the cruft that would come along with running full Android or Chrome. With that blank slate comes an opportunity for Google to make exactly the thing it wants to make. And the result is intuitive and beautiful.

Over the last couple of years, you’ve been able to talk to the Google Assistant to get things done. Voice assistants are getting more helpful than ever. For instance, Google Assistant can tell you the latest weather, traffic and meeting schedules, by simply asking. Much more than a smart speaker, Smart Display, a new category of devices for the smart home that brings the Google Assistant to an interactive screen for a richer visual experience designed to comfortably watch music videos, follow recipes, manage your calendar, and more — all while sporting a modern design that fits perfectly into nearly any room in the home. Google Nest Hub brings you help at a glance for any moment at home. With the Google Assistant built-in, see your life in one view, and get things done hands-free.

Get hands-free help from Google Assistant that you can hear and see. Just talk or tap to watch how-to videos on YouTube, get step-by-step recipe instructions, listen to music, check your calendar, enjoy your favorite entertainment, control your smart home, see your Photos, stay in touch with friends and family video call loved ones, and manage your day with simple voice commands and touch gestures.

Nest Hub does everything a smart speaker does and so much more as these have the same Google Assistant built-in as Google Nest speakers. The added bonus of sight and sound really helps save time and makes it much easier to get things done at home.

Simply put, it’s like upgrading from the radio to a TV.

So, you’re paying same as you would for a regular Assistant speaker like Nest Audio, but there’s a whole new visual experience for Assistant. Your daily brief can include visual elements like the weather or calendar appointments. Instead of sending links to web content, the Nest Hub can just show you on the screen. Likewise, you can stream your Assistant-enabled security cameras right on the device instead of relying on an external screen someplace in the house.

Nest Hub also brings entirely new functionality to Assistant like hands-free video calling. When looking for music, you can have the Nest Hub show you playlists for easier selection.

With the Google Assistant built in, the Nest Hub brings you the best of Google services, including Maps, YouTube, Calendar, Meet/Duo and Photos, in a visual and helpful way. The most fascinating thing about adding a display to the Google Assistant is that

Google is taking that as an opportunity to evolve how it answers questions.

To take the most obvious example: if you ask a how-to question like “How do I darn socks?” you’re likely to get a YouTube video instead of a snippet from a website. This is tightly integrated into the Google ecosystem. It grabs YouTube videos. It uses Google’s web snippets. It serves as an amazing kitchen TV if you’re a YouTube TV subscriber. It knows what your reminders are and where your wedding was(from your google photos location). It’s very much a device that aspires to give you answers instead of web links.

Start Your Day With A Personalized Greeting

Get driving directions:

Any smart speaker can tell how long it’s going to take you to drive or walk somewhere, and can even send the directions to your phone. But, If you’ve got a Nest Hub(or any other Smart Display), though, you’ll be able to see the plotted route too.

Say like “Hey Google, how long will it take to walk/drive to nearest Costco?” and see a map appear on screen, with traffic congestion marked in red, orange, or purple. On-screen buttons can let you switch to other modes of transport, too. It may not seem like a huge difference between a device with or without a screen —but visualizing the directions and potential congestion can help decide whether or not to set off immediately, or to choose an alternate form of transportation.

Enjoy music, news and podcasts

Smart Displays offer a rich experience for enjoying music, news, podcasts or audiobooks from popular services. With the combination of voice and a screen, it’s easy to browse and find that perfect song, album, or playlist. Its 10W speaker can really fill up a room with sound. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Stream your favorite music with YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify, and Pandora, with free tier available for all services
  • Stay informed with Google News, including the latest video news briefs featuring national and local publishers like CNBC, CBS, and Cheddar
  • Jam to your favorite radio stations with iHeartRadio and TuneIn
  • Catch up on your favorite podcasts with Google Podcasts
  • Or listen to audiobooks from Google Play Books. With audiobooks or podcasts, your Assistant will pick up right where you left off, even if you were listening on your phone earlier.

Play videos and watch TV

Ask YouTube to play anything: how-to videos, cooking videos, product reviews, you name it! If you’ve a YouTube TV, you can enjoy live or recorded TV in your library, no remote control necessary. The next time you want to turn on the game, you can say “Hey Google, watch ESPN” to start streaming. Many other popular video services are supported too, including HBO Now, Google Play Movies & TV and Crackle.

Browse recipes and get step-by-step cooking guidance. Visual recipes on demand. A great sous-chef.

Get hands-free help in the kitchen, use your voice to browse millions of recipes from top names like the Food Network, Ricardo and Kraft Canada. Nest Hub is your digital sous chef that can show you simple ways to whip up great family dinners. Discover recommended recipes with the full list of ingredients, follow step-by-step directions, set timers, and get conversions completely hands-free. Then the Assistant can provide step-by-step hands-free guidance on screen. And, you can set timers and play music while you cook.

What’s helpful is you can pause as you go with just your voice — never losing your place again or dirtying the screen when your hands are covered in sauce.

Get answers, manage your day, and stick to your routines

Google Assistant Routines makes it even easier to stay on top of your day using your Nest Hub(smart display). Just say “Hey Google, good morning” to get a verbal and visual summary of the weather, traffic to work, reminders, your agenda and then If you’ve a video source in your daily news briefing, it will play that video before moving on to the audio updates.

Stay updated on Google News with the latest updates from Google Home/Assistant ecosystem.

Keep in touch with loved ones with Hands-free video calling

With video calling on Google Meet/Duo, you can instantly connect with your closest friends and family on Smart Displays. Google Meet/Duo is also built in on Android phones and available on iOS, so you can call your friends and family hands-free across devices. Just say, “Hey Google, call Rachel” to start a high-quality video or audio call.

Google Assistant can video call for you using Meet/Duo

Initiate/receive video calls on Nest Hub using Google Meet/Duo, even without the camera. Nest Hub can use Google Meet/Duo video calling app, but the recipient will only see your profile pic.

How to set up Google Meet/Duo calls on your Nest Hub and what you can do with it

The device being used to contact your Google Nest Hub must have a camera in order for the video calling feature to work. You should see them live on your display, but they will only hear you and see your profile photo.

You can also receive calls made by someone using Google Meet/Duo. To receive calls:

  • Google Meet/Duo calling needs to be set up for your device.
  • Personal results need to be on.
  • Do Not Disturb, Night mode and Downtime needs to be off.

You can also video call your Nest Hub from your phone, and the same will be true there. Whoever is at home and picks up will see you, while you’ll just hear them and see your own photo. A screen that shows you what you need quickly, so you can get back to the actual work. To initiate or answer a call, say:

  • Hey Google, video call [name]
  • Hey Google, start a group call (group video calls with Meet/Duo on Nest displays are only available in English in the US, UK, Canada and Australia.)
  • Hey Google, answer the call(to answer an incoming Google Meet/Duo call)
  • Hey Google, decline the call(to dismiss an incoming Google Meet/Duo call)

Google Assistant can also make video calls for you using Google Meet/Duo on your Smartphone

Ask Google Assistant to initiate a video call for you with someone in your contact list, and it will do so by automatically kicking you over to Google Meet/Duo.

You can start a Google Meet/Duo video call by saying or typing,

  • Hey Google, Video call [name]

The feature requires Google Meet/Duo, so it’s worth trying the command now on Assistant for Android or iOS.

Note: Nest Hub also supports video calls through Zoom. But Google Meet/Duo continues to be the quickest way to stay connected with your loved ones.

Control your smart home

Google Assistant connects with over 5,000 smart devices, including security systems and your Nest Cam. Just ask “Hey Google, show me the family/kids room” to check on things with the Nest Cam. Turn up/down the thermostat, dim the lights or change the color — all with your voice or a simple touch screen control.

More useful Google definitions (like upgrading from the radio to TV)

“Hey Google, what is a kohlrabi?”
“According to Wikipedia, kohlrabi is a biennial vegetable, a low, stout cultivar of wild cabbage…”

Often times answers are much better seen than heard. You can also ask the Google Assistant to show you anything on the Lenovo Smart Display: ask for French restaurants nearby, and Google Maps™ will help you discover some local suggestions in the neighborhood.


You can shop on the display using Google Express. You’ll need to set up voice recognition in the Google Home app to authorize any purchases. You can even create and manage a shopping list on your Smart Display and bring up your list on your phone when you’re at the grocery store. Or, avoid the trip and order a delivery with Google Express from your favorite stores like Costco, Target and Walmart.

Best handoff. Send recipes/driving directions to your smartphone

You can use your phone to send recipes to the smart display. You do that with the “Send to Google Home” button pictured.

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After searching for a restaurant on the Smart Display, you can also send driving directions to your phone.

Relive your memories with Photos

The Nest Hub is also a perfect device to enjoy Google Photos. When you’re not using your Hub, the screen can serve as an always-on digital photo album from Google Photos or ambient screen has options for simple clean digital clock, Facebook photos or scenic stock photos. You can add the time and current weather to any of the ambient screens. And you can just ask the Assistant whenever you want to see specific pictures of a family vacation(Hey Google, show my pictures from the Agra, India” and just like that, you’re taken back to your vacation.) or other special moments with the important people in your life.

Simple and elegant with Privacy

On the side of smart display, a switch moves a physical shutter in front of the camera in case you want privacy. So, you feel more comfortable putting a smart speaker in bedroom, knowing the camera is covered. Both models round out to a kickstand on one side, but are otherwise thin. On the top, you’ll find a slider that mutes the microphone and volume controls.

What areas you would like us to focus upon, let us know in the comments below.

Things you can do from here:

7 thoughts on “10 things to do on Nest Hub with Google Assistant

Add yours

  1. I’ve mentioned this before on similar posts, but could they not use a TV with Chromecast connected as a smart display? I would love not to have to purchase a stand alone device for this.


  2. Looks quite nice. But, having been down the Google TV dead-end branch of a Google OS, I am hesitant to purchase a product based on what looks like it could easily become another dead-end OS branch. Fool me once…


  3. So I got the Hub for $49 ($99 Black Friday and I had a $50 coupon form my Pixel 3 purchase). Only used it for 2 days but there are 2 issues that I hope they fix soon.

    1) Continued Conversation is not working. It’s not a big deal, but I have it enabled for all my other devices.

    2) The ambient clock dims too dark at night in my dark bedroom. You can’t even see what time it is. This is big no-no, I want to see what time it is if I wake up in the middle of the night. 🙂


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