The Google Nest Hub is a smart speaker from Google that integrates a 7-inch touch screen and the Google Assistant virtual assistant. Then An analysis of this smart speaker is performed.
Unpacking, assembly and initial setup
In this section it proceed to describe the packing and unpacking process of the Google Nest Hub, describing the packaging and if it's an accessible process for people with disabilities or the elderly. The initial configuration procedure and possible difficulties detected are also analyzed.
Unpacking and assembly
The Google Nest Hub comes inside a cardboard box wrapped in a transparent plastic very tight to the box. In order to open the box, it's necessary break said plastic with some cutting tool like scissors. This procedure involves somehow holding the box while the plastic, so there may be some difficulty for people with reduced mobility or with some type of physical disability.
Once the plastic is broken, and removed from the box, it's opened by pulling upwards, with two hands, in order to remove the lid from the box. Withdrawal said cover, the Google Nest Hub is inserted in a piece of cardboard. After removing the Google Nest Hub, you can remove the piece of cardboard by pulling of an endidure in the center of it. On one side, and inside another piece of cardboard is the power adapter. Also, in the center of the box, comes a small quick assembly guide.
Once the Google Nest Hub and the power adapter have been removed, the plastics that surround it must be removed. Google Nest protective plastic Hub covers the entire screen, and you have to take it off by pulling flaps stuck on the back of the device, both on the sides and on the top and bottom. Also, the charger is also protected by other plastic that must be taken off before it can be used.
The power charger is connected to the device, by means of an elongated and circular plug, at the bottom rear. This plug can be connected and disconnect to the device without any difficulty.
The initial configuration of the device must be done through the Google Home mobile application, available for Android and IOS. In this case, an IOS device has been used for its configuration.
The installation process is well explained in the application, describing each of the steps to follow. However, the procedure is quite long. In addition, it is necessary to first create a Google account, in order to start the configuration process in order to associate the device to a user and give him access to Google services.
During the initial configuration process some accessibility problems have been detected for certain groups, which are discussed in the section correspondent.
The Google Nest Hub is a compact 178.5 x 67.3 x 118 mm speaker that integrates a 7-inch screen. On the back of the device The volume button, the microphone switch and the power adapter connector are located. The volume button is lengthened and flat, and is located in the central right area, while the switch to connect and disconnect the microphones, in a circular and flat, is located in the upper central part. For its part, the connection for the power adapter is located at the bottom, slightly to the left. Everybody These elements are perfectly detectable with touch.
The screen is 7 inches and is slightly tilted back both for good viewing and to facilitate interaction with it. The resolution is more than optimal for a screen of this size, with a wide range of colors and good sharpness. The brightness can be adjusted between 1 and 10, using voice commands such as "Decrease brightness 3 points" or "Increase brightness 5 points". In addition, with the ambient light sensor that includes the device you can adjust the brightness automatically, dimming in the hours of darkness. In relation to the response time to the pulsations, this is good, although sometimes, if rapid changes are made, it may take longer in the reaction time. For its part, the text shown on the screen has good readability, with large black letters with a white background to say that you cannot show something.
The matrix of two long range microphones is more than enough for a correct detection of the user's voice, managing to detect and identify verbal commands with background noise, at a considerable distance and in opposite directions. The system is able to identify the user, even with the voice somewhat altered, although not when it whispers or speaks very softly. In addition, there are times that you do not understand what you are told, and it presents some difficulties to stop audio playback. An interesting quality, thanks to Voice Match, is that it is able to identify up to 6 different users by voice, since each user is assigned a voice profile.
The device includes a full-range speaker located at the rear, which is more than enough to provide quality sound.
In addition, the volume of this can be controlled by voice commands, such as "Volume down 2 points" or "Volume up to maximum".
This section will analyze the interaction with the Google Nest Hub and the Google Home application, necessary for the initialization and configuration of the device.
Google Nest Hub
The device has a 7-inch screen in which all the contents are displayed. At the top is the menu that contains the options related to the home group and all configured smart devices. At the bottom is the menu that contains the options relative to some configuration parameters of the device itself. Both menus are hidden and are displayed by sliding your finger from the top down or from the bottom up, depending on the menu you want to open. These menus are well structured, with menu options clear.
Google Home application
The application presents a well-maintained and organized interface in five tabs, through which you can access the different devices, to the user account, to the microphone to interact with the assistant, to YouTube videos and to applications that can play their content on the device. The less positive aspect is because some configuration menus are very hidden. One of these menus, for example, is the accessibility of the Google Nest Hub device.
The Google Nest Hub uses the Google Assistant as a virtual assistant, so oral comprehension is determined by good or malfunction of this. In general, oral recognition is very good, with verbal orders being recognized most of the time. However, sometimes not it has understood words or orders, or has failed to answer them.
The Google Nest Hub uses natural language both to receive orders and to show your answer, perfectly understanding endless questions like "What's the weather like?" or "Play music on YouTube." This allows a natural and fluid communication with the user, and facilitates the interaction of this with the device.
A very positive aspect is that it is able to identify up to six different voices. These voice profiles are stored on the device, and allow giving personalized responses to the user, such as appointments for today from the user's personal agenda. In addition, the device has been able to identify to the user even with alterations of the voice, with background noise and with low voice, no matter from which direction the voice came from in relation to the microphones.
Another important aspect to consider is the response time, which is the time between when the user finishes giving the order and the time in which the device performs the action. In general, this time is acceptable, being able to be slowed by the speed of Internet connection.
Connecting a device to the Google Nest Hub can be a complex procedure. the first thing to do is install the corresponding application to the device, in order to configure it. In this analysis two devices have been used, a smart LED strip and a smart plug. The device configuration procedure will be more or less complex depending on how the manufacturer designed the application. But nevertheless, once the smart device is configured, it's still associated with the Google Nest Hub, a procedure that is done by first assigning the device to a home and then allowing Google Home to locate it. Therefore, it's a complex and lengthy procedure that can be difficult for certain collectives.
In relation to the verbal commands supported, these depend on the type of device and those that have been implemented for it by the manufacturer. Thus, the smart LED strip allows you to change the color, brightness and mode (fixed, flashing, etc.), as well as turning it on or off. The device comes with a remote control that allows you to change all this. However, using verbal commands you can only change the color of the led, the brightness and turn it off and on, being impossible to change the mode. For its part, the plug only allows two verbal commands, turn off and on.
To activate the accessibility options you must use the Google Home application, locate the device, in this case the Google Nest hub, and activate accessibility in its configuration options. It should be noted that the accessibility menu is too hidden in the application, and that it would be convenient to have a form of activation from the device itself.
People with visual functional diversity
As for the assistive technologies for this group, the Google Nest Hub has the possibility to activate a screen reader, magnify the screen or invert the colors. However, the screen reader and amplification cannot be activated simultaneously. In addition, the screen reader verbalizes the type of elements (button, window, etc.) in English, even if Spanish is selected as a language, as well as easily blocked, being necessary its reactivation from the mobile application.
Regarding accessibility problems, the screen reader cannot be activated during the device initialization process, so you cannot verify a code that appears on the device screen and must match the code that appears in the mobile application. In addition, the menu cccount moves automatically when reading using VoiceOver in IOS. It has also been proven that the microphone tab in IOS seems to block to the VoiceOver screen reader, leaving it speechless and without any reaction.
People with auditory functional diversity
This group may be unable to handle these devices, since they have several accessibility barriers.
First, the device doesn't have an alternative to voice commands, that is, you cannot enter orders using an on-screen keyboard, which would allow interaction with the device by people with speech problems.
As an accessibility option you can activate subtitles on screen, which facilitates the use by people with hearing impairment. In spite of this may be inaccessible to handle this device by this group since the subtitles remain on the screen for a short time, disappearing even before the assistant's voice finishes speaking. The only thing that can be configured is the color and font size of the subtitles.
People with physical functional diversity
This group of people can be greatly benefited by virtual assistants, since they allow them to handle a large number of devices without need to move from the site or without having to interact with them physically. However, there are some accessibility problems that are detailed then.
First, the process of installing and configuring the smart device requires some mobility. Placing the device in its place can require the assistance of a person without physical restrictions, as well as the configuration of the device, which must be done from the application to Android or iOS.
On the other hand, some actions require some kind of interaction with the touch screen of the Google Nest Hub. This makes those people who have disabled physical interaction with any device can not use this system.
To the above it must be added that the configuration of the smart devices must be done from the Application itself. This can make system management difficult by some people belonging to this group.
People with intellectual or mental functional diversity
There is no adaptation for this group of people, although this is not a reason for them not to use it. Here the possibility of use comes fundamentally determined by the individual's ability to handle electronic devices.
Being able to use natural language, it may be easy to understand and manage by people with some kind of intellectual disability. In addition, the answers are expressed in an easy-to-understand natural language. For its part, the management of smart devices, once configured, is quite simple, so it should not present many problems its handling.
Older people can be affected by visual, hearing, physical problems and even memory loss. The use of a device as the Google Nest Hub can benefit you by facilitating the use of household appliances. While it is true that the configuration of these devices can be something complex, and the intervention of a third party may be necessary for initialization, once configured they can be a great help.
These people when interacting with the Google Nest Hub will have few problems since it is controlled by voice with verbal orders in the natural language, in addition to the answers are also transmitted with an easy to understand natural language. The only problems that may arise are in relation to the oral transmission of the response, since the subtitles, as already indicated, have a short duration on screen, as well as sometimes it's necessary to physically interact with the device screen, which can be an accessibility barrier for people with mobility reduced.
In this section an analysis is carried out from the user's point of view, with the aim of evaluating the degree of satisfaction that occurs when interacting with the device. We must also take into account how useful and manageable the Google Home application is because the configuration of the devices, including Google Nest Home itself, it is done from it. The applications necessary to configure the devices will not be taken into accountintelligent, since it is not the object of study of this review, although they may be mentioned at some point.
Also in this section we analyze the benefits that the use of the Google Nest Hub, together with the use of smart devices, bring to different collective The advantages and disadvantages for the different groups will be studied, and the main utilities of the use of the Google Nest Hub.
The first thing to consider is the process of setting up the Google Nest Hub, which, as indicated, is too long a procedure, and that must be done from the application. This can be somewhat uncomfortable for certain groups. In addition, as described, it presents some accessibility problems that can make it an inaccessible process for certain people.
The less positive aspects of the application are in relation to the configuration of the device itself. Some menu options are very hidden and it turns out difficult location. In addition, there are buttons that have the same name, such as the "Add" buttons. This can confuse the user since the names do not clearly identify exactly what they mean, although their function can be intuited by the position they occupy in the interface.
In relation to the Google Nest Hub, it presents a screen that slides your fingers well. The volume buttons have easy access and are hidden from view, although they are not necessary to increase and decrease the volume, since it can be done by voice. The switch to connect and disconnect the microphones glides easily, although being a physical element will always be inaccessible for people who cannot physically interact with the device.
In general, oral interaction with the device is good, being able to perform a large number of consultations and actions with it. However, you can't expand its functionality, simply answering questions, playing multimedia content and managing smart devices.
As for the interaction with the touch screen, it is very comfortable for people who do not need a screen reader, although sometimes it seems that the system gets caught, which may be due to the internet connection. However, the interaction using a screen reader is not as satisfactory. since the type of the elements says it in English, and sometimes it is blocked and it is necessary to restart the reader from the mobile application.
As for the handling of smart devices, it is quite easy and intuitive. However, the verbal orders available depend on the product and manufacturer, not always available all the options to handle the devices.
Utility, advantages and disadvantages
The Google Nest hubb can bring different benefits to different groups as explained below:
- Easy to use. It allows you to easily perform tasks that would otherwise be more complex, such as consulting the meaning of a word to a visually impaired person or perform mathematical calculations to a person who cannot handle a calculator.
- Entertainment. It is not a specific function for a collective, but it serves as a leisure tool and helps combat loneliness or monotony, which can be beneficial for the elderly or with reduced mobility.
- Intercom. This device can be used to transmit messages between devices or users. This is a good tool for people that they cannot move and have to communicate with other members of the family unit who are not in the same room.
- Home automation. It is one of the most useful and important functions, since it allows people with physical functional diversity to control the house in a way autonomous or that people with visual disabilities can handle devices that would otherwise be inaccessible. In addition, for the elderly you can be very useful since it facilitates the handling of household devices.
- Routines This function allows you to concatenate several consecutive actions that are performed consecutively on a regular basis. It is not a specific function for a group, but it can be of great interest since it simplifies the performance of these activities with a single voice command or programmatically time.
The Google Nest Hub allows you to easily manage smart devices using voice commands, as well as play multimedia content and respond to a wide variety of issues, including mathematical operations. In addition, it has a nice and comfortable touch screen, with a careful interface.
The sound capture through the microphones is very good, recognizing the user even with background and remote noise. Also, the speakers have good sound both in multimedia content playback and in the voice output of the assistant.
For its part, the interaction is good, with adequate response times and a good recognition of user requests. In addition, the answers provided are usually correct.
However, the device has different accessibility problems that can make it not manageable by all people. The configuration Google Nest Hub, as well as smart devices, are long processes that can be difficult for certain users. Also, the options of accessibility of the device are not yet perfected, and the management of the system may be somewhat uncomfortable for people with visual, of communication or physical problems.
- Touch screen with good resolution.
- Microphones with good sound capture.
- Easy handling of smart devices.
- Correct answers and good reaction time.
- It could be suggested the simplification of the configuration process .
- It could be studied the improvement of accessibility in the initial configuration in future versions .
- It can be suggested the improvement of the screen reader in future versions.
- It may be suggested that the subtitle duration setting be allowed.
- It could be studied the possibility of installing applications on the device .