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Google Nest Hub doesn’t have a camera, but it can now sense your presence

One of the perceived advantages the Google Nest Hub smart display has over its Amazon and Facebook-made counterparts, is the absence of a camera.

For those privacy-concerned folks, the idea of a live camera in their living room or kitchen – Echo Show or Portal-style – doesn’t tend to sit well. However, that doesn’t mean the Nest Hub (formerly Home Hub) smart display can’t track where you are in the home, when you issue commands via the Google Assistant.

Google has just rolled out a new feature that uses high-frequency audio to find your approximate position in relation to the smart display. The ultrasound sensing feature, which the company revealed during the Made by Google event last month, is currently on its way to the Nest Hub, as well as the camera-toting Nest Hub Max.

When the device’s microphones detect your voice, they’ll sense your presence and adjust the user interface to reflect how close you appear to be to it.

Related: Google Home vs Amazon Echo

If you’re close to the screen you’ll see expanded weather cards and touch controls. If you’re moving away from the device, font size and graphics will be enlarged. Seeing as you’ll be too far away to touch the screen, those controls will disappear and you’ll benefit from the rest of the on-screen content becoming more readable.

While the feature is also landing on the Nest Hub Max, it doesn’t rely on that device’s camera to power it, it’s 100% powered by the ultrasound.

The rollout was first spied by Android Police and has since been confirmed by Google (via Engadget). The company is quick to point out that high-frequency audio won’t send your pets crazy. Even though dogs can hear it, it’s more akin the noise emitted by household appliances like a fridge, the site was told.

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