Quick Phrases Are Coming to Google’s Nest Hub Max

If you have a Nest Hub Max smart display and you’re tired of saying “Hey Google” 50 times a day, a new feature could reduce that number quite a bit. Quick Phrases – a feature on Pixel 6 phones, and which Google announced for the Nest Hub Max last year – are now live. This allows the Nest Hub Max (and only the Max so far) to respond to certain commands without the phrase “Hey Google”, making it a bit easier to converse with the voice interface.

At launch, Quick Phrases – which you need to enable in the Google Home app first – are limited to a few preset commands in four categories: general info (like time and weather), lights, timers and alarms. Google says the phrases don’t have to be exact, and Assistant can recognize common variations. Phrases include:

  • “Turn on the lights. »
  • “Set a timer for 2 minutes. »
  • “Set an alarm for 7 a.m. »
  • ” What time is it? »
  • ” What weather is it? »
  • “Cancel the alarm. »

Quick Phrases ties into Google’s Voice Match feature, so each person in the household will need to set up the feature for their account. It’s separate from the Look and Talk feature on the Nest Hub Max, which lets you issue any command without the “Hey Google” wake word, but you have to stand close to the screen, look at it. right, and have Face Match enabled. With Quick Phrases, you just need to be within earshot of the speaker.

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Quick Phrase Test on a Nest Hub Max

When you say the quick phrase, the Nest Hub responds with a small icon indicating it’s heard it, then completes the request. I tested it this morning, and every command worked as advertised. It was quite handy not having to say the wake word before issuing a command. Although, I felt like I looked a bit more demanding than usual!

I also found that if the “Turn on lights” command turned on the smart lights in the room the Nest Hub Max was in, I could say, “Turn off the living room lights” and also control the smart lights in another room .

The downside I can see is that quick phrases will probably mis-trigger the assistant more frequently. Of the three voice assistants I use — Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Assistant — I find Google to be the least likely to be accidentally activated. It may change that.

In my testing, Google seemed able to ignore any commands similar to other voice assistants; “Hey Siri, what time is it?” and “Alexa, turn on the lights” didn’t trigger the Nest Hub Max, as long as I didn’t pause too much between the wake word and the command.

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