Google Nest is a range of smart speakers with a built-in assistant. Nest Mini, Nest Audio, Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max are the products currently available.

Various in-house and third-party services are integrated into Google Nest smart speakers, allowing users to speak voice commands to control interaction, perform tasks like playing music and listening to news and find out information from the internet. These are smart devices, meaning they can be used to control other connected accessories, like heating controls and lights.

Setup

Google Nest devices run on electric and must be kept plugged in. Once connected you will hear a voice from the built-in speaker directing you to the Google Home app on your smartphone or tablet. You are required to obtain the app from either the Google Play store or iOS app store.

In the app, there is a set up button which will guide you through the set-up process. This includes connecting the device to your WiFi network, giving your device a name, updating the device, signing in using your Google details, giving the device access to your personal information like contacts and calendar, setting your location, and linking up the services that you want to use like Google play, Spotify or any cast devices in your home.

Use

Google Nest makes life easier by helping you do things like access media, manage your tasks and plan your day - using only your voice.

You can play music to suit your mood, get the latest news from broadcasters, listen to popular podcasts, listen to radio and audio books, and play content from your smartphone or tablet.

You can set reminders, store calendar entries, get local information like traffic, weather, and flight information, set alarms and timers, get information about world events, get sports scores and control home devices like thermostats, plugs and lights.

Verdict

The Google Nest family of devices are very accessible and usable. Initially it seems a little odd to speak to an inanimate object but the Google Nest voice does have a personality to a certain extent. It can even sing to you and tell you jokes.

Smart speakers provide a level playing field for all users as they rely on voice control. We are now in an exciting era of smart products that you control with your voice and that don't rely on screens or complicated menu structures.

At the date of writing, the prices for Google Nest devices range from £19 to £169 depending on which device you go for and the features and functions included.

Grants

Smart home devices and accessories are available to apply for through the RNIB Technology Grant Scheme. Other items include video magnifiers, RNIB PenFriend 3, kitchen equipment, clocks and watches, accessibility software and DAISY players. Click here for more information about grants.

Further resources

Reviewed November 2021.