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Google testing a feature that could activate your smart display without a wake word

According to a few leaked reports, Google is apparently developing a new feature that can activate your smart display by just looking at it. So to put it simply you might not need to say ‘Hey Google’ anymore if the test is a success.

The latest highlight has been codenamed ‘Blue Steel’

The latest feature has been codenamed ‘Blue Steel’. This would let the device to simply sense your presence and hear for active voice commands from you without the wake word.

Jan Boromeusz who previously leaked the Nest Hub’s dark mode also showed the said functionality of the smart display on YouTube.

If you watch the video, you can observe that Boromeusz gave various commands to the device without uttering the wake word ‘Hey Google’.

So his Nest Hub Max smart display is actually running on a leaked internal firmware meant for testing by Google. However, it is still ambiguous as to whether the company will release the functionality officially.

Rumors on how Blue Steel might work

Rumour says that the Nest Hub Max is making use of its existing ultrasound sensing to sense the presence in the room and start listening.

For now, the smart display just uses this to adjust the information it shows.

Maybe in the near future, the same feature can be used to keep an ear out for voice commands when it knows you are in the proximity.

Some other sources report that it uses its camera’s Face Match feature to better know who is speaking.

Privacy is a concern

Nevertheless, if this interesting feature is released to the public there will be several privacy issues and concerns.

The main element of the smart speaker is to hear for the wake word. And then it gets activated and listen to the voice commands that come after it.

Simply depending upon the proximity of the person to listen, will raise many problems. It could lead to the smart speaker listening to something it is not supposed to. And that could be a huge issue for privacy and security.

So, the Blue Steel could be released as an optional feature. So only those who feel like it is tiring to keep saying ‘Ok Google’ can make use of this feature. This would actually make their task easier.

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