I love my Google Nest and it truly is a revolutionary piece of kit. Not only does it display my photos but it also forms a key part of some basic smart-home automation. I really have no gripes. But there is one small area I feel it's lacking. The Radio Alarm. I'm the type of person who detests alarm sounds and prefer my sleep cycle to be shattered by something a little softer, like a radio station.
How difficult is it for Google to add a feature that will allow one to wake up to their favourite radio station? I would have thought this key feature would be very easy to put in place, after all, the Nest Hub can carry out much more complex operations. There are varying reports that this feature is available only within the US, which I find very odd to why this is the case. Does Google not know here in the UK we also would find this feature useful?
In the meantime, whilst I await an official release (that may not come anytime soon!) I managed to concoct a somewhat preposterous way to get some form of radio alarm automation. You will require the following:
- An Android phone with Google Assistant capability
- Google Nest Hub (standard or max)
- Phone stand to sit next to your Nest Hub (optional)
The premise of the approach I detail is to get an Android phone to fire off the alarm at the desired time and when the alarm is dismissed manually, the phone will utter a phrase that will be picked up by your Google Nest Hub and play your radio station.
If you’re still here and intrigued by this approach, let's get to it!
The first thing we need to do is set up a “Good Morning” routine on the Google Nest Hub, which can be done through the Google Home app on your phone. It is here where we will carry out the following:
- Assistant will section: Adjust media volume to 40%.
- And then play section: Select Play radio and enter the name of a radio station.
- Save the routine.
Now when you utter the magic phrase “Good morning”, the Google Nest Hub will do exactly what we set up in our routine. Now we need to add some automation to do this for us and this is where the alarm feature on your Android phone comes into play.
I cannot be sure if the alarm feature on all newish Android phones gives the ability to define a Google Assistant routine. If it does, you should see this as an option when setting the alarm. We need to carry out a similar process as we carried out (above) when setting a “Good Morning” routine on the Google Nest Hub:
- When I dismiss my alarm: Adjust media volume to 50%.
- Select the “Add action” button and under the “Enter command” tab, enter the following text: Hey Google. Good Morning.
- Leave the “And then play” section to do nothing.
- Save the routine.
Your phone will ideally be placed in close proximity of your Google Nest Hub for the “Hey Google. Good Morning” utterance to be heard. In my case, I have my phone right next to the Nest Hub on my bedside cabinet to make it easy to dismiss the alarm.
I have to concede the approach I have to take comes across quite lame. It just seems ridiculous that you have to rely on a phone to fire off a process to allow one to have the radio to play automatically. Why can’t routines be more flexible at Nest Hub level?
I’m unable to determine whether my approach comes across naive or clever. Maybe it's somewhere in between.