Google Nest Hub (2nd gen) launching in New Zealand on May 5 for $169

Google Nest Hub (2nd gen)  hopes to be the "ultimate bedside assistant and alarm clock".
The new Nest Hub on a bedside table. Photo credit: Google

Google's second generation Nest Hub will be released in New Zealand on May 5 with a launch RRP of $169.

The latest version of the smart home display features extensive new sleep health features along with better audio, an edgeless glass display and a design choice of two colours: chalk or charcoal.

As well as connectivity with other smart home devices and voice control, Nest Hub (2nd gen) also allows some motion controls like waving your hand in front of it to pause or play a video, and it features a machine learning chip that caches your common commands for faster response times.

But the 'Sleep Sensing' feature appears to be the device's big new thing, which Google says is a result of just how much existing Nest Hub devices are used in the bedroom.

The company hopes the new device will be the "ultimate bedside assistant and alarm clock" with various audio and lighting features designed to help soothe people to sleep and gently wake them up, along with its tracking features.

Using a built-in Google Soli motion sensing chip, the new Nest Hub will track when a user is in bed and how long they're asleep for in a similar way to Apple and Fitbit sleep trackers.

But it will also record how often the user coughs and how many minutes they snore, among other factors. Over time it's said to understand the user's sleep patterns and can make recommendations such as an ideal sleep routine, along with mapping out their sleep stats over various time periods.

However, apparently due to privacy concerns, the device won't be able to differentiate who it's tracking. So if someone gets into what's usually your side of the bed for a snooze, it'll sense that but think it's you, subsequently messing up your sleep data.

It's also unclear how well the Nest Hub will be able to distinguish your coughs and snores from a partner on the other side of your bed, too.

Also due to privacy worries, Google says only sleep event data will be sent to the cloud, not actual recordings - so no one has to worry about their snore audio being listened to by a stranger on the internet. As there is no camera in the device, users don't have to worry about any footage of them being recorded.

Google says Sleep Sensing will be free for a year, but after that the company wants to charge an as yet undisclosed amount for subscriptions, on top of what people have to pay upfront for the device.