This news comes from a user on the Google Home subreddit stating they have received messages informing them that they won’t be able to make calls via Google Meet “by the end of September.” More specifically, September 28, according to 9To5Google. Zoom, on the other hand, will live just a bit longer.
A Zoom support page explains it will go offline on the Nest Hub as of September 30. The post makes the point the app will ultimately stop working on the device and “no further updates will be made available.” You won’t even be able to install Zoom or sign-in on the Nest Hub Max after that date. It’s going dark for good.
When asked by 9To5Google why they're doing this, a Google spokesperson claims the company wants to shift focus on making Google Assistant “more helpful” as it plans on implementing “generative AI capabilities”. Because of this shift, “some underutilized features” have to be cut in order to make room.
As you can imagine, people online are none too pleased with this decision. A user on the subreddit says this effectively turns the Nest Hub Max into a “giant paperweight”.
Zoom arrived on the Nest Hub Max during the COVID-19 pandemic as an easy way to initiate and join group video calls without another external device. Plus, it gave the smart home display an extra level of utility, allowing it to be integrated into a remote work setup. People flocked to the smart home display because of its usability, but now, one of its purposes for existing is leaving.
You could argue Zoom is being dropped because the company doesn’t want third-party competition on its hardware. Fair enough, but that doesn’t explain why first-party services like Google Meet are being dropped. Maybe it was ignored by the user base. Assuming this is the case, we can’t help but wonder what else will get the ax. This past June, on-device games were removed. At this rate, the Nest Hub Max may become an island, completely cut off from the rest of Google’s ecosystem.
It’s unknown if the smart display is even capable of making video calls anymore. A set of instructions on how to use Google Duo on the Hub Max is still live on the Nest Help website. However, if you recall, Duo merged into Google Meet last year so it probably won’t work. We asked Google to clarify if the device can still make video calls, and, if so, how will that work? This story will be updated at a later time.
After seeing this change, you are probably thinking of getting a replacement for your Nest Hub Max. We recommend checking out TechRadar’s list of the best smart displays for 2023 if you want some suggestions.
Update 19/9/23: A Google Spokesperson got back to us clarifying the status of Google Meet. As it turns out, the app is staying on the Nest Hub Max, but a few things are being changed. They told us you will still be able to make "1:1 and group video calls to friends, family, and businesses". However, "support for joining meetings via meeting codes and links" will be going away at the end of September.
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Cesar Cadenas has been writing about the tech industry for several years now specializing in consumer electronics, entertainment devices, Windows, and the gaming industry. But he’s also passionate about smartphones, GPUs, and cybersecurity.