Google's Nest Hub smart displays use voice commands for most functions, which means they are usually easier to use than smartphones or PCs. However, the (general) lack of a graphical user interface means discovering features can be difficult. Google does show tips and tricks on the Hub's home screen, but they don't cover every possible option and feature.
In this guide, we'll go over some helpful features in Google's line of smart displays in particular: the Nest Hub (formerly named the Home Hub) and Nest Hub Max. Most of these features should also work with just about any smart display powered by the Google Assistant, but be prepared for subtle and not so subtle software differences between Google's UI compared with some of its competitors.
Change the photo frame
By default, the Nest Hub displays recent images from your Google Photos library when not in use. You can change this behavior by selecting your smart display in the Google Home app, and tweaking the assistant settings. To swap out Google Photos, open the home app, tap on the Settings gear icon, and select 'Photo frame.'
Here you can select what will appear on the Nest Hub's main screen: images from Google Photos, an art gallery, or a fullscreen clock. If you choose Google Photos, you can pick specific albums, in addition to the default 'Recent highlights' collection.
There are a lot of settings in the Photo Frame menu you can try out, including a temperature display, alerts for upcoming events, and even how quickly the display cycles through photos. You can get a pretty personalized look, and this really is a killer feature for smart displays in general.
Turn off the screen at night
If you keep your Nest Hub in a bedroom or other area where it could be distracting when the room lights are on, you can set the Nest Hub to turn its display off when it detects the room is pitch black. Select your Nest Hub in the Google Home app, tap the Settings gear button, and select Display Settings.
There are a few different options you can play around with on this menu, but the one we're looking for here is the 'During low light' setting. Select 'turn off screen,' and your Nest Hub will never bother you again in the dark with its screen glow—that is, unless you say "Ok Google."
You probably already know that you can watch YouTube on the Nest Hub, but what about other content? Perhaps the most versatile aspect of the Nest Hub is that it functions as a Google Chromecast target, so you can press the Cast button in almost any app on your phone to play content like music, podcasts, and movies on the Nest Hub's screen.
You can play podcasts from Pocket Casts, watch series from services like Plex and Hulu, stream your favorite games from Twitch, cast a Chrome tab from your PC, and much more. In most cases, you can even pause or skip content with voice commands ("Ok Google, pause") or by tapping the screen.
The main catch is that a handful of content providers block the ability to Cast to smart displays. Amazon Prime Video is the main offender here, as Netflix finally enabled casting support on the Nest Hub (but not third-party displays) in 2020. Presumably, the e-commerce giant would rather you buy an Amazon Echo Show if you want to watch Prime Video on a smart display.
Turn your Google Nest device into an interpreter
Did you know Google Translate's interpreter mode is available on all Assistant smart displays? The feature arrived in mid-2019 , and allows two people to speak to each other in different languages, with your smart display acting as a two-way translator. To gets started, use the "Ok Google" voice command and say something like "Be my French interpreter" or "Help me speak Spanish."
Interpreter mode is still prone to Google Translate's usual problems with complex sentence structures, and it only works with around 30 languages, but it's still an interesting function that could come in handy.
Search in Google Photos
While there are probably better ways to show off your vacation photos, you can start a slideshow of images from your Google Photos library on your Nest Hub. Just say a command like "show my photos from Florida" or "show my photos of Bob," and matching images will cycle through on the display.
This works with the same search queries as the Google Photos app, so matches are usually very accurate — even specific commands like "show my photos of raccoons" worked for us.
Set up Routines
Google Assistant Routines are as close as you can get to automation on the Nest Hub. Once you create a Routine and give it a command phrase, saying the activation phrase will start any actions contained in the Routine. For example, I created a Routine called "rain" that sets my Nest Hub to a certain volume before playing rain sounds. To activate it, all I have to say is "Hey Google, rain."
To create and edit your Routines, open the Google Home app on your phone, press your profile icon in the top-right corner, select 'Assistant settings,' tap the Assistant tab, then press 'Routines.'
Routines are actually one of the most powerful features you can use on the Google Home platform, so they're really worth checking out. Google has some ready-made ones you can play with, too, like the popular "Good morning" routine that will tell you the news of the day, the weather, and more. They're not as powerful or customizable as something like Tasker, but they can bring a lot of convenience (and simplicity) to your smart display or speaker.
Connect with IFTTT
IFTTT, short for "If This, Then That," is an online automation platform that connects hundreds of different services together, including social media platforms and smart home services. You can use it to create DIY integrations between Google Assistant and other platforms, like creating notes with Evernote, restarting your PC, or posting a tweet with a voice command. Basically, they're like the routines above, but with essentially limitless third party service support.
If there's something you can't do with your Nest Hub on its own, there's a chance it could be done with IFTTT. To get started, browse through some of the pre-made Assistant applets, or create your own (that last link only works when you're logged in).
Multiple actions with IFTTT Pro
The main catch is that each phrase can only execute one action, unless you sign up for IFTTT Pro, which gives you unlimited applets and the option to create multiple actions from one trigger. Also, if IFTTT fails to execute the action for whatever reason, Google has no way of knowing (and often IFTTT doesn't, either), and won't tell you the command didn't actually work.
IFTTT - automation & workflowDeveloper: IFTTT, Inc
Manage multiple calendars
By default, the Nest Hub only displays upcoming events from calendars you have created yourself. For example, if you subscribe to an external calendar for upcoming sports events, asking your Nest Display "what's on my calendar" won't include results from the sports schedule. Fortunately, you can change this behavior.
The setting for which calendars Assistant can access is buried deep, so you'd be forgiven for not discovering it on your own. Here's one way to get to it:
- Open the Google Home app on your phone.
- Press your profile icon in the top-right corner, then select 'Assistant settings.'
- Scroll down to 'Calendar' and tap it.
Here you can change which calendars Google Assistant (and by extension, your Nest Hub) can read. You can also set the default calendar for creating events to any calendar you have permission to modify.
Add all your hardware and services
f you don't want to cast everything from your phone to your Google Nest Hub, you should connect your favorite video, music, and radio services to Google Assistant. This way, you can ask your smart display directly to play content from Netflix, Spotify, Apple Music, Sling, and many other streaming services.
There are a few different ways to do this, but the easiest method is to press the plus button at the top-left of the Google Home app's home screen, then under the 'Manage services' section, you can pick music, video, radio, and other options. Most of the categories allow you to set a default service, which will be used when you don't specify a service in the command (e.g. "play King Princess" instead of "play King Princess on Apple Music").
If you'd prefer to watch your favorite shows from the Google Play Store and other streaming services, you can connect your new Nest Hub to your Google TV and just say "Ok Google, play the latest episode or Russian Doll on my TV."
You an even connect your Hub to other devices in your house like your Google Nest mini or your Nest Cam, so you can stream audio in every room of your house and see who's at the door without getting off the couch.
Enable start/stop sounds
By default, the Nest Hub doesn't play a sound after you say the activation hotword (either "Hey Google" or "Ok Google"), so there's no way to know if it hears you until you stop talking. If you want to add an audio confirmation that tells you the Nest Hub is listening, you can do that.
Select your Nest Hub in the Google Home app, tap the Settings gear button in the top-right corner, select 'Audio,' and finally pick 'Audio accessibility.' You can enable start and stop sounds for Assistant on this screen.
Connect via Bluetooth
If you want to play audio content on your Nest Hub from another phone or smart home device that doesn't have Google Chromecast, there's an easy workaround. The Nest Hub can act as a Bluetooth speaker, allowing you to stream audio from any device that supports the Bluetooth protocol. It's especially useful with PCs, iPhones, and other devices that have limited Chromecast support.
To get started, select your Nest Hub in the Google Home app, tap the Settings gear button in the top-right corner, pick 'Audio,' and finally select 'Paired Bluetooth devices.' Here you can enable pairing mode, which causes the Nest Hub to appear as a Bluetooth speaker to any nearby devices.
Now that you've picked up some of our favorite Google Nest Hub tips and tricks, you have the knowledge you need to set up a smart home.I If you want to put your new-found knowledge into practice, a good place to start is by setting up lighting routines using some of our favorite smart lightbulbs.
What cool things can google nest do? ›
- Control TVs and speakers.
- Plan your day.
- Get things done.
- Manage tasks.
- Get answers.
- Control your home.
- Have fun.
- Play white noise while you fall asleep. ...
- Broadcast something to every Google Home device in your house at once. ...
- Control your smart home. ...
- Remind yourself to work out. ...
- Make hands-free calls. ...
- Find your lost phone. ...
- Switch it to night mode.
You can connect your nest cameras to the google home hub through the google home app (iOS), (Android). Once you connect your nest camera to your google home hub it will allow pull up a live video feed of your nest smart cameras on your google home hub.Does Nest Hub have a camera? ›
Your Google Nest Hub Max comes with a built-in Nest Cam. You can use the Nest Cam to check in on your home when you're away with the live view functionality and alerts when activity is detected.What is Google Home cheat? ›
If you do a voice search for "up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right", Google will speak back "Cheat mode unlocked. Unlimited free Google searches." Of course, Google searches are free (not counting ads and personal data) and unlimited anyway, but it is still a fun trick.Can Google Nest turn on TV? ›
You can turn your TV on and off using your voice and Google Nest or Google Home speaker or display.What can Google Home sing? ›
Google Home can play you recordings of animal noises and vehicle sounds. For example, ask what a horse or train sounds like. Google will sing for you, too! Simply say “Hey Google, sing a song” or “OK Google, serenade me,” and you'll hear the assistant belt out a ditty.Does Google Home have Easter eggs? ›
Pop culture Easter eggs
"OK Google, up, up, down, down, left, right, B, A." "OK Google, do you like Star Trek or Star Wars?" "OK Google, aren't you a little short for a storm trooper?" "OK Google, set phasers to kill."
- Movies & TV shows: Play Stranger Things on Netflix.
- Video clips: Play cat videos.
- Apps: Open YouTube.
- Search: Search for sitcoms.
- Info: Tell me about Game of Thrones.
Installing any applications on the Google Nest Hub is not supported. For now, the device only shows the devices and media services that are linked to your account.
How do I customize my Google hub? ›
How To Change Display Clock Google Home Hub - YouTubeCan Google Nest control lights? ›
Control your lights with your speaker or display
touch and hold the light you want. You'll find controls for brightness. If your bulb has color options, you'll also find color controls.
Yes, you can use more than one google hub in one home. You can control all of your Google and nest devices in the Google Home app.Can Google Nest answer phone calls? ›
Up to 10 Google Nest smart speakers and smart displays in your home can now make and receive calls along with your mobile phone. The inbound caller's name or number will be announced by your Google device, to answer you can just use touch or your voice, just say, 'Hey Google, Answer Call'.Can you connect nest cameras to TV? ›
Google is finally bringing an old feature to its new Nest cameras. Starting this week, you can stream the video feed from all your Nest cameras and video doorbells to your TV using a Chromecast with Google TV.Is Google Nest Hub always listening? ›
Your Google Nest/Home speaker is always listening, but you can easily stop it by pressing the button on the back. What will happen if you switch the microphone off? Your voice or music will no longer be picked up and processed through Google's servers. However, that means you won't be able to give it commands.Can you watch Netflix on Nest Hub? ›
Netflix compatibility is available on the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max globally, allowing users with a Netflix subscription to play movies, TV shows and documentaries directly on their Nest smart display, as well as casting the service from a smartphone.How long will Google Home last? ›
Building Your Nest
There is not necessarily a performance reason to discontinue the Google Home. It still works very well even 3.5 years after its launch. However, there is definitely a branding rationale behind bringing out a new device.
- Do a barrel roll. One of the most popular fun Google trick is simply asking Google to do a barrel roll. ...
- Atari Breakout. ...
- Askew. ...
- Recursion. ...
- Google Gravity. ...
- Thanos. ...
- Anagram. ...
- Zerg Rush.
Description: Google's "Wizard of Oz" Easter egg displays a pair of ruby slippers👠 in the Knowledge Graph. Clicking on them will cause the page to spin in a tornado-like effect while an audio file of Judy Garland saying "there's no place like home" is heard.
What are some Google tricks 2021? ›
- Thanos. If you search 'Thanos' or 'Infinity gauntlet', Google will show a Knowledge Graph with an Infinity Gauntlet on it.
- Wizard Of Oz. ...
- Do A Barrel Roll. ...
- Animal Sounds. ...
- I'm feeling curious. ...
- Friends Characters. ...
- Super Mario Bros. ...
- Spinner. ...
Google has used the Konami code for a couple things before, but now it can be used, or at least part of it can, to unlock unlimited free searches! To unlock it, simply do a voice search for “up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right”, and Google will speak back to you saying “Cheat mode unlocked.What are Google nest commands? ›
Listen to media.
|To do this:||Say "Ok Google" or "Hey Google," then:|
|Pause||"Pause" "Pause the news"|
|Resume||"Resume" "Continue playing"|
|Stop||"Stop" "Stop the news"|
- “Turn OFF [name] TV.”
- “Turn ON [name] TV.”
- “Open Settings.”
- “Increase/Decrease Volume.”
- “Slightly Increase/Decrease Volume.”
- “Increase/Decrease Volume by a lot.”
- “Volume 10.”
Connect to your TV with Bluetooth
First, navigate to the Bluetooth settings in the Settings menu on your TV. From there, tell your Google Home, "Hey, Google, pair Bluetooth" to put your speaker into pairing mode and select the Google Home device you want to connect to.
Common TVs that support CEC include: AOC, Hitachi, Insignia, ITT, LG, Magnavox, Mitsubishi, Onkyo, Panasonic, Pioneer, Philips, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Sylvania, Toshiba, and Vizio.Can you install apps on Google Nest Hub? ›
Installing any applications on the Google Nest Hub is not supported. For now, the device only shows the devices and media services that are linked to your account.How do I customize Google Nest Hub? ›
How To Change Display Clock Google Home Hub - YouTubeHow do I use Google Home Hub? ›
To set up a Google Nest Hub, open the Google Home app on your mobile device and tap the Plus (+) > Set Up Device > New Device. Use the same steps to link your smart appliances to the Google Home app, including your TV, lights, and security cameras.How do you use Google nest? ›
Nest Thermostats don't have a touch screen. Use the touch bar on the right side to control your thermostat. Swipe up to raise the temperature, swipe down to lower it, and tap to confirm. The display will show you how many minutes until your desired temperature is reached.
Can you play games on Nest Hub? ›
Lighten up your day or test your trivia smarts with jokes, trivia, games, and other fun on your Google Nest or Home speaker or display.What apps run on Nest Hub? ›
- Spotify and similar apps.
- Netflix and YouTube.
- Philips Hue.
You can receive calls made by someone using Google Duo. To receive calls: Duo calling needs to be set up for your the device.How do I make Google not talk back? ›
On the side of your device, find both volume keys. Press and hold both volume keys for 3 seconds. To confirm that you want to turn TalkBack on or off, press both volume keys for 3 seconds again. The volume key shortcut won't work if you haven't enabled it.How do I clean my Google Hub screen? ›
Instead, a microfiber cloth dampened with distilled water is the absolute safest way to remove dust and smudges from your Google Home device screens. For sand and lint, cellophane tape or the aforementioned lint remover should get it. A microfiber cloth is your touchscreen's best friend.Can you cast to Nest Hub? ›
Perhaps the most versatile aspect of the Nest Hub is that it functions as a Google Chromecast target, so you can press the Cast button in almost any app on your phone to play content like music, podcasts, and movies on the Nest Hub's screen.How do I use Google hum feature? ›
On Google Assistant, it's just as simple. Say “Hey Google, what's this song?” and then hum the tune. This feature is currently available in English on iOS, and in more than 20 languages on Android.Is Google Nest Hub any good? ›
Google Nest Hub (2nd Gen) review: Sound quality
Yes, it's good for such a small display, but I wouldn't use it for music unless it's the only speaker in my room. I favor the Nest Hub Max, Sonos One or even my Amazon Echo Show 8.
The Nest Learning Thermostat can use sensors and your phone's location to check if you've left, then sets itself to an Eco Temperature to save energy. See how much you saved. Nest shows you how much energy you use every day in Energy History and every month in your Home Report.What is Eco mode on Nest? ›
Eco. Your system will either heat or cool to try to keep your home within the Eco Temperatures range. Only the Nest Thermostat E and Nest Learning Thermostat have Eco mode. For the Nest Thermostat, you can use the Eco preset to quickly adjust to energy-saving temperatures manually or in its temperature schedule.
Can Google Nest control lights? ›
Control your lights with your speaker or display
touch and hold the light you want. You'll find controls for brightness. If your bulb has color options, you'll also find color controls.
Manual heating is your best bet when it comes to controlling your Nest device without an internet connection. Press the Heat Link button to activate manual heating. To turn off manual heating, press the Heat Link button again. Turning off manual heating, however, will return Nest to its regular schedule.