One segment of society that has been most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic are the senior citizens. They have to be isolated from their loved ones as they are the most susceptible age group to the virus. Their only way to communicate is through devices but of course, not all of them find it easy to use technology. Google is now teaming up with their Nest team to bring a special version of the Nest Hub Max to selected elderly people in retirement homes in Washington State.
The Nest Hub Max is actually an ideal device for older people because it has a huge screen, large speakers, and a built-in camera. They can use it to do video chats with their loved ones that they cannot see in person. But for those that might still find this device and technology intimidating, Google and Nest are improving the user experience for the elderly so the technology part of their lives will be made easier.
These special Nest Hub Max devices will have a pre-loaded shortlist of contacts so they will just need a few taps to be able to start a video call. There will also be some information cards that will tell them what they can do with their smart speaker, specifically what they can ask Google Assistant to do for them. For the not so tech-savvy older people, this interface and user experience should be helpful as they navigate this “new normal” from within their homes.
But not everyone can get this new experience on the Nest Hub Max. They will be giving out 1,000 devices that will be distributed to residents in Merrill Gardens retirement homes in Washington State. You could say they will be the “beta testers” for this updated interface. To ensure the privacy and security of these elderly residents, no audio recordings will be stored in the cloud and all their activities will be anonymous.
After they have distributed the devices and the residents have used it, we don’t know what the next step will be. Google has not said if they will be rolling out this “senior-centric expeience” to other Nest Hub Max devices.