Here’s an interesting experiment Google is hitting around on its smart display: voice-command input without a hotword. A video detailing the feature has been released on YouTube from Jane Boromuse, Nest Home Hacker, who has a proven track record of scoring smart performance features before they were announced.
Boromus’s Nest Hub Max is in “dogfood” mode in some way, meaning it makes early, non-public, smart display software for internal use only at Google. A special menu called “Dogfood Features” lists a “Blue Steel” feature that will allow the device to respond to commands Without First to say “Hey Google” hotword – you just say a command and it will reply. Boromeusz says the device will listen for commands after “detecting presence”, so if someone is in front of the display, it will simply start answering questions.
Today Google’s voice command hardware listens all the time, but only to “Hey Google” hotwords. Once detected, it will begin processing additional commands. More modern implementations also use Hotword as a cutoff point to connect to the Internet — the process of locating “Hey Google” takes place locally, and then uploads, processes, and uploads anything to Google’s servers Will be archived. The hotword also acts as a form of consent, not only by having the following words uploaded to the Internet, but also because the device is always listening and responding to every possible thing that can be interpreted as a command is.