Google has added a Guest Mode for its Nest and Home products. The idea is to make your smart speakers and displays safe to share with guests as well as other members of your household (such as if you rent with friends) without risking them accidentally accessing your search history, calendar or contacts.
Here we explain how to turn on and use Guest Mode on your Google Home or Nest devices.
What is Guest Mode on Google Home or Nest?
As smart speakers and displays are often shared by everyone in a household, sometimes you’ll want to ensure that some of your personal details remain private or that general searches don’t end up linked to your account.
For example, if you’re planning a surprise meal for your loved one, you don’t want a Google Nest Hub displaying the recipe so that they work it out beforehand.
How to use Guest Mode on Google Nest or Home devices
There’s no complicated setups or instructions needed when enabling Guest Mode. Simply say ‘Hey Google, turn on Guest Mode’ and the device will obey your command.
When you enable Guest Mode you should see, if you’re using a smart display like the Google Nest Hub, a little Guest icon appear in the upper right corner of the screen, signalling that you’re in that mode.
Should you forget at any point what state your device is in (particularly for speakers which don't have a display) just ask ‘Hey Google, is Guest Mode on?’.
You can use this commend when friends come over, as it allows them to interact with the device without being able to access information from your calendar or see your contacts, but they can still ask the Google Assistant questions, play music, control lights and other things.
They could also turn guest mode off (as we explain below) so it's not intended to guarantee your privacy.
Assuming they don't know how to turn it off, it does stop them from adding strange things to your search history and accidentally (or on purpose, we don’t know the kind of friends you have) adding things to your personal calendar.
Guest mode also means you can make searches yourself without worrying that it will show up on your other devices or indeed the Google Nest/Home.
When you’re finished with your clandestine plotting, or when your friends leave, tell your Google device ‘Hey Google, turn off Guest Mode’ and normal service will be resumed.
Really, Guest Mode is a simple way to temporarily use your Google Home or Nest device without the searches being linked to your account. So, you can quickly turn it on, look up the ingredients required for that special dish, then turn Guest Mode off again in the knowledge that the Smart device won’t spill the beans.
Is Guest Mode secure?
Not really, it’s more of a helpful tool than a security feature. If your guests or housemates know about the mode, they can simply turn it off just as you can. Plus, Google states that ‘When you use your Assistant in Guest Mode to interact with other apps and services, such as Google Maps, YouTube or media and smart home services, those apps may still save that activity.’ So, it’s not perfect if you’re trying to plan a secret trip while looking at guide videos on YouTube.
But, as a way to keep your accounts free from random searches that can affect the results you’re served, plus that added layer of privacy, it’s a useful addition to the Google Nest range of commands.
For more ways to get the most out of your Nest Hub, read how to change Ambient mode on Google Nest Hub, how to set up video news broadcasts on Google Nest Hub, and how to factory reset Google Nest Hub.