Google adds new Nest Audio speaker to its ecosystem
So, Google conjured up its new Nest Audio speaker after encouraging research showed Americans increased in-home music listening by 61 per cent.
Which in these COVID times, begs the question: what would the same survey reveal about our current music listening habits? The short answer is music in the average home, it's likely to have gone Northwards at ballistic speed.
The long answer to Google’s survey’s relevancy here is that products such as the latest Nest Audio speaker have a much better chance of sell-through than they had pre-COVID.
Locally the market for all levels of audio-video gear is going through that proverbial roof. Stores are recording steady sales. But here’s the thing - most are done either online or via the phone.
So, if you’re calling about the new Nest Audio speaker, you’ll be told that it comprises part of Google’s ecosystem which is shorthand for marketing a range of smart home products clever enough to talk to each other.
Lest you think this simply includes apps such as Chromecast or Google Assistant, think again. The Nest Audio brand of speakers bolsters a line-up that covers smart displays, streaming devices, thermostats, smoke detectors, routers and security systems including smart doorbells, cameras and smart locks.
Some of us spotted Computer land’s plans to move into traditional hi-fi and video territory. Still, few were prescient enough to envisage the computer industry’s marketing grab of the whole known universe.
Houses that already have Google Home, Nest Mini or just a Nest Hub, are prime candidates for the new Nest Speaker. Some opt to link a couple of Nest Audio speakers to use them as a stereo pair. Others who might have say, a Nest Hub Max in the study, Nest Minis in several bedrooms and a Nest Hub in the hallway, can have the pleasure of streaming the same song to all of these devices simultaneously.
Although Google isn’t generous with specs for the Nest Speaker, it does say that its tests show it is 75 per cent louder and has 50 per cent stronger bass than the original Google Home. Sound is generated within the Nest Speaker by a 19mm tweeter and a 75 mm mid-woofer.
Getting the new speaker’s sound to blend in with a room is, says Google, as easy as using Google’s Media EQ app. This allows the new speaker to automatically tune itself to the room and most sources including music, podcasts, audiobooks and even responses from Google Assistant.
Dip into Google’s Ambient IQ app, and this lets Nest Audio adjust volume levels for Assistant, news, podcasts to cater for your home’s ambient levels.
And if you have some of Google’s ecosystem devices you can use Google’s stream transfer feature to move music from one part of the ecosystem to another simply by voice commands.
The new Nest Audio speaker carries Google’s machine learning chip that came with the Nest Mini last year. This chip has one TeraOPS of processing power, allowing Google to migrate some Google assistant features from its data centres to the new speaker.
Nest Audio is available now in Chalk, Charcoal, Sand, Sky and Sage finishes and has an RRP of S$139
One of the veteran journalists of the HiFi industry, if there’s a speaker he’s likely heard it or owned it at some point in his career. Peter was formerly the audio-video editor of the Herald Sun newspaper in Australia for over two decades.
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