Google is apparently going all in on Nest branding for its Home lineup of smart products and starting that move by turning the Google Home Hub into the Google Nest Hub, according to a new report based on evidence found by 9to5Google. The report comes hot on the heels of a leak of sorts, wherein the Google Store revealed that a larger Home Hub would likely be coming on May 7, and would be called the Google Nest Hub Max. Thus far, no other details, such as what may happen to other Google Home branded products and apps, have been revealed.
The Google Home Hub, soon to be the Google Nest Hub, is essentially a Google Home with a screen. The name change may well be an extension of one of its primary use cases; many users already use their Home Hubs to look through their Nest cameras and doorbells, among other interactions with Nest equipment. On this front, the choice seems fairly simple. Deeper integration with Nest hardware and software, and perhaps even the absorption of the Google Home brand and all its hardware and software into Nest, seems a logical next step.
At present, though they end up serving a number of overlapping functions, the Google Home app and the Nest control app are separate. If this rebrand is taken to its logical conclusion, it’s quite possible that we’ll see these merged. This means that Google will be branding Nest a bit more strongly by giving consumers a one-stop-shop for control of Google and Nest gear, but not any equipment from other smart home brands like Amazon Alexa, Vivint, Apple HomePod, and so on. This could possibly fool less tech-savvy users, and may well be enough convenience to sway would-be buyers of other smart home brands into getting Nest and Google gear together.
It’s worth mentioning that Google is one for frequent rebrands, but not meaningless ones. In this particular case, it’s easy to see that Google intends to fold two product lines together; the only real mystery is exactly how that’s going to look. Nest has been doing fairly well, despite a short period of quite frankly being a hot mess, so at this point, most consumers who keep track of the space should have some idea of what to expect.
The new hardware accompanying this change, the Google Nest Hub Max, should be launching on May 7, along with the Pixel 3a and other goodies. The newest addition to the Hub family sports a 10-inch display, along with a camera for making video calls over Google Duo and other services. The larger size also allows Google to fit in better audio and video equipment, making this one more apt as a media center than its smaller predecessor.
The Google Home product user base has come up with a wide range of unique use cases for the hardware that they’ve rallied around, so it will be interesting to see how this change plays out once the new hardware and merged software are in consumers’ hands. This could turn relatively lukewarm fortunes around for Nest, or could be an additional scratch on a Home lineup that’s already sustained serious wounds in its fight with Amazon.