Google wants its Nest Wifi Pro to be the centerpiece of your smart home
Google is updating its router, doorbells, and apps for the launch of the new Matter smart home standard.
Google’s big Pixel 7 launch event is tomorrow October 6, but that hasn’t stopped the company from announcing new products on the other side of its hardware equation. On Tuesday, Google introduced big changes to the smart home: the new Nest WiFi Pro router, a wired Nest Doorbell, and a redesign of the Google Home app.
There are usually yearly updates to Google’s smart home devices, but these new products are arriving in time for the hotly anticipated rollout of Matter, a new smart home industry standard developed by Google, Apple, Amazon, and others, that aims to dramatically simplify controlling the smart devices in your home.
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Nest WiFi Pro
Modern upgrade — The Nest Wifi Pro is an updated version of Google’s pre-existing mesh networking system that adds support for Wi-Fi 6E (the “E” is for “extended”), the new Matter standard, and Thread, a low-energy mesh networking technology.
If you’ve ever had to set up a wireless router you might be familiar with 2GHz and 5GHz networks; they’re the default on most routers. Wi-Fi 6E uses the 6GHz band, which is wider, less crowded, able to support more devices, and offers faster speeds — Google says up to two times faster speeds than its previous routers.
What is Matter? — The Nest WiFi Pro’s ability to act as both a Matter and Thread hub will become more important as more Matter devices roll out, but it basically means the Nest WiFi Pro can control and connect any Matter or Thread device you throw at it, even if it was originally designed for another smart home platform other than Google Home.
The details on Matter itself are complicated, but in simple terms, the connectivity standard combines pre-existing technology like Bluetooth Low Energy, Wi-Fi, and Thread to create a unified method for communicating with smart home devices. A Matter hub like the Nest WiFi Pro becomes the pipes that connect everything, and you just have to make sure you’re buying devices that support Matter.
Since all of the major smart home players are participating in the standard, if you decide to change routers or smart home platforms at any point, you should be able to bring all of your connected devices to a new platform without issue.
New look — The Nest Wifi Pro still follows Google’s naturalistic, rounded hardware aesthetic, now with a more pronounced “chiclet” look, in either white, beige, or yellow color options. The Nest Wifi Pro is available to pre-order now for $199.99, or in a pack of two or three for $299.99 and $399.99, respectively. The router ships on October 27.
Wired Nest Doorbell
Minor changes — The biggest change to the Nest Doorbell is the one implied in its name. Rather than rely on a rechargeable battery, the new version can use the existing power that might already be running to your current doorbell. The rest of the tweaks are minor, the wired Nest Doorbell is shorter and slimmer, but features the same cameras and software features as Google’s previous version.
The wired Nest Doorbell is available in white, beige, green, or grey color options, and you can purchase it today for $179.99.
Redesigned Google Home App
Google’s new design for the Home app is meant to be easier to use, more personalized to your home, and better able to highlight the cool features of smart homes, like automations.
Spaces & favorites — Google plans to let you “favorite” specific connected devices and functions so that they appear on the app's home screen, that way cameras or lights you're always using are easily within reach. Meanwhile, the Spaces section groups devices together by function, with the option for custom spaces if there are devices you know you frequently control together.
Automations — The new Google Home app features a dedicated automations tab for all the automated routines in your smart home and Google plans to expand its “household routines” features so you can easily build new ones. For anyone who wants to get really nerdy, the company says it plans on offering a script editor for “advanced” automations.
Google plans on updating its Google Home web and app experience in the coming months, including a new Wear OS 3 Google Home app. In the meantime, there’s a public preview on the way for anyone who can’t wait.