Remember what hotel stays were like in before times, when a human bellhop would demonstrate the TV, show you the minibar and tell you which button to press for room service? Well, the bellhop for your next hotel visit (whenever that is) could be more of a display than a person, and it might even answer to “Hey, Google.”
Google just unveiled a new “hospitality solution” for Google Assistant and the Google Nest Hub, which is now taking up residence in a handful of boutique hotels in six U.S. states and in the United Kingdom.
Instead of simply installing a Google Nest Hub in the lobby, participating hotels are putting the seven-inch smart display in each room, and guests will be able to ask Google Assistant to perform such common bellhop duties as scheduling wake-up calls, ordering more towels, or telling you when the pool closes. (No, it can’t tote your luggage, unfortunately.) The Assistant will also be able to kick-start the check-out process, as well as pass complaints along to the concierge.
Besides offering help with everyday hotel services, the Google Nest Hub in your room will be able to (of course) play YouTube videos, and you’ll also be able to stream tunes from your phone to the display via Bluetooth.
The Nest Hub could also be configured to control smart devices in your hotel room, just like it would at home. For example, you could ask Assistant on the Nest Hub to pull the drapes, change channels on the TV, or dim the lights.
Naturally, the Assistant-powered Nest Hub would be a fount of knowledge when it comes to sightseeing and local restaurants, and “some” Nest Hubs will even be able to make dinner reservations, Google says.
Sounds good, but do we really want a Google Nest Hub intruding on our next hotel stay? For its part, Google points out that the Nest Hub (as opposed to the larger Nest Hub Max) doesn’t have an integrated camera, and guests will always be able to flip a switch to disable the display’s microphone.
Also, you won’t have to sign in to the Nest Hub with your Google account to use the display, and “any activities” will be wiped from the device before the next guest checks in. (Hopefully the touchscreen will be disinfected as well.)
Google Nest Hub displays are now gracing hotel rooms at the Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Arizona; Dr. Wilkinson’s Resort in Calistoga, California; Gale and Shelborne South Beach in Miami, Florida; Gansevoort Meatpacking and Synergy Chelsea in New York City; Hotel Zena and Viceroy in Washington, D.C.; and Village Hotels in the United Kingdom, with “additional hotel partnerships” coming soon.
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Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.