SAN FRANCISCO, May 18 ― Presented at the Google I/O conference, the new Look and Talk feature consists in launching requests to the tech firm's intelligent assistant without having to start with the traditional “Hey, Google.” It's already available on the Nest Hub Max, exclusively in English for the moment.

As its name suggests, the principle of Look and Talk is to look at the device and launch a request directly. Note that while it is possible to test this feature in various regions, it only works in English with one's Nest Hub Max set to English. The option is activated in the Face Match section of the assistant's settings. The device will then instantly recognize the user; obviously several profiles can be saved.

The system is relatively simple to use since you just have to be in front of the screen, at a distance of less than 5 feet or 1.5 metres away. Even before speaking, a small animated icon is automatically displayed in the upper left corner of the screen, meaning that you are well positioned. From then on, you can launch an action, without having to pronounce the famous “Hey, Google.”

Note that Google assures that the processing of this data is done locally on the Next Hub Max, and that it's not shared on an external server, as it doesn't leave the device.

Strictly speaking this announcement did not exactly come as a surprise, as the trend is to gradually abandon the iconic “Hey, Google.” Owners of a Pixel 6 can now experiment with Google Assistant without having to systematically start with “Hey, Google” for certain actions, such as having to repeat an alarm (you just have to say “Repeat” for the smartphone to execute) or to refuse a call (“Refuse”). Eventually, other common commands such as turning on the light or playing music could be added to this list.

Meanwhile, a “Conversation” mode already allows you to launch a series of commands without having to systematically repeat “Hey Google” before each of them. ― ETX Studio