Look and Talk lets you activate a Nest Hub Max without OK Googling it

I started messing with Look and Talk on the Nest Hub Max yesterday. If you’re not familiar with that, it’s a way to just look at the Nest Hub Max and ask it a question without saying “ok google.” When it works, it’s magical. I’m writing about it so you know something is afoot.

If you have tiny ones who run in to find out what you’re asking when you say “OK Google” you know this might be useful at some point. Or they mysteriously become so loud in the next room. Still not sure how kids know when to interrupt.

First off, you’ll need to have your facial image recognized. For me this is done as part of an Android lock screen. Get my phone to recognize my face, enable face max on the Nest Hub Max, and bam… or should have been bam.

First thing that I had to do was not have the Nest Aware / home security running. I didn’t want to disable Nest Aware as I actually like being able to pop in and look and make sure my kitchen isn’t flooded or something. I made a compromise and set the Nest Aware to disable based on where my phone was. If I’m away from the house the camera comes on and Nest Aware works, if I’m at the house Look and Talk works because Nest Aware is off.

Seemed a reasonable compromise, and it worked… for a day.

It was pretty neat, I’d walk in, look at the Nest Hub Max and it would just listen to what I had to say and for the most part ignore it if the sentence was short. If I asked “how are you” it would, I’m guessing, think I was talking to someone else. If I expanded the sentence and kept looking at it “how are you doing today google?” it worked.

This seemed to be fairly consistent and I got the idea that it has some sort of “he’s probably not talking to me” AI built in for the short sentences. Eh, something I may only be experiencing.

Worked about as well as saying “ok google” for most of my tests. Didn’t work for the kids or wife because they don’t have face match set up. As I walked into the room I noticed it showing my face in the top right occasionally. Kind of neat.

I went out of the house, Nest Aware kicked back on, came back home, Nest Aware kicked off. And that was the end of Look and Talk working until I rebooted the thing. One reboot later, back in the game. Assuming it’s a bug with Nest Aware integration and turning the security features on and off, but whatever.

Overall I find it useful. I cannot express how tired I am of saying “OK Google” and I’ve even renamed my Alexa to Ziggy because I was tired of that. Kind of nice to be able to give it the ol’ Zoolander Blue Steel gaze and have it respond.

Paul King

Paul King lives in Nashville Tennessee with his wife, two daughters and cats. He writes for Pocketables, theITBaby, and is an IT consultant along with doing tech support for a film production company.