Google’s Nest Hubs Will Start Showing Air Quality Metrics as Wildfire Season Rages

Google’s Nest Hubs Will Start Showing Air Quality Metrics as Wildfire Season Rages
Photo: Andrew Liszewski

With wildfires continuing to rage throughout the summer, Google is adding support for a new Air Quality Index badge to its line of Nest Hub smart displays to help you keep better tabs on smoke and other pollutants.

While Google’s new AQI badges will only be available on devices in “select markets,” in a recent announcement, Google says it’s hoping the new badges will help people stay more informed about their local air quality.

The new AQI badges on Google’s Nest Hubs will appear on the device’s Ambient tab and can be seen alongside the clock and weather widgets so you can get more information about your local environment at a glance.

In addition to the new AQI badge, Google is also adding a couple of other new features related to air quality to its Nest Hubs including a new voice command “Hey Google, what’s the air quality near me?” and alerts for times when the local air quality drops to unhealthy levels or potentially poses a risk to sensitive groups.

The information display in Google’s AQI badges is based on the EPA’s U.S. Air Quality Index, which represents pollution on a 0 to 500 scale, with numbers from 0 to 50 considered good and labelled in green, while anything above 301 will be shown in maroon and is considered hazardous.

Here's a quick chart detailing various AQI values, per AirNow.  (Screenshot: AirNow, Other) Here’s a quick chart detailing various AQI values, per AirNow. (Screenshot: AirNow, Other)

However, the AQI values that will impact people the most on a day to day basis are between 101 and 150, at which point the EPA says pollution could affect people in sensitive groups, and values from 151 to 200, which is classified as unhealthy and could cause some members of the public at large to experience negative health effects, with people in sensitive groups potentially facing even greater risks.

While there isn’t a firm timetable for when the new AQI badges will be available on your device (assuming you are in a supported market), Google says the Nest Hubs’ new air quality features will begin rolling out sometime over the “coming weeks.”

And if for some reason you aren’t interested in seeing AQI or related notifications, users will be able to opt-out at any time.