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

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, combining a smart speaker and a touchscreen. They use the Google Assistant voice assistant to operate by voice commands and can do everything a Google Nest smart speaker does, and more.

Whether you’re the proud new owner of a Google Nest Hub or thinking about buying one, you want to know what exactly 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

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

2. View 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 forecast, and show the upcoming forecast on the screen. Swipe the screen from right to left to view the forecast for the next week.

3. Run your smart home devices

Google's Nest Hub controls smart home devices
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 tell Google to play a playlist, channel, album, artist or song by particular. Details of the track currently playing are displayed on screen, along with on-screen playback controls, allowing you to pause the music or skip forward or back a track.

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 on to your favorite podcast or streaming service, call up 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, that big screen is there for a reason. Use the Google Home app on your smartphone to connect to a number 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 that service and start playing.

But that’s not all, you can also queue videos on your Nest Hub. For example, you can say “Hey Google, show me some football videos” — sit back, relax, and enjoy a stream of related videos to keep you entertained all 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 soccer but other members don’t, their video recommendations will be different.

7. Cast Content

In addition to being able to watch videos on Google’s Nest Hub, you can stream content there via the Google Home app. Indeed, the Nest Hub is also a Chromecast device, once it’s been 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. Turn into a digital photo frame

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

9. Take part in Zoom and Google video chats

Video call 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. Indeed, the Hub Max has an integrated webcam. The regular Google Nest Hub doesn’t have one and can’t do video chat.

For now, Hub Max supports video calling 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’ll 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 are then prompted to tap the Meet or Zoom card on the screen. Follow the onscreen 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 link them together to make 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 responding to Nest doorbell camera
Image credit: Google

If you have a Google Nest doorbell, you can see who’s 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 tabs on what’s happening on your doorstep.

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 browse through them on screen, often with step-by-step video instructions. You can even use the Hub’s voice-activated alarms and timers to make sure your cooking is as precise as possible.

13. Monitor your sleep

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

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

Do this for several nights and Google’s Nest Hub learns 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 can be a game changer.

14. Translate foreign languages

Need a little help learning key phrases in another language, or translating text easily? As the 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 whatever you want to translate.

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

15. Hand Gesture Control

With the Nest Hub Max or Nest Hub (2nd gen), you can control the smart display with simple hand gestures. To pause what’s playing on screen, just raise your hand (Nest Hub Max) or touch the air in front of the screen (Nest Hub 2nd gen). To resume playback, raise your hand again (Nest Hub Max) or tap the air again (Nest Hub). This feature is particularly 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 improve your experience, if you have the Nest Hub Max, by identifying you via your voice and your face. To use Face Match, Voice Match must be enabled. This will allow 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 needing to ask. Instead, it will display 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, just say “Hey, Google” and ask.

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