Smart Displays are very useful for checking the weather at a glance and Google is now showing air quality index (AQI) on the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max directly in the Photo Frame/”Ambient screen.” 

If you’re using the Google Photos or Art gallery clock face, air quality information appears in the bottom-left corner time “widget” — as it was officially referred to today — just underneath the weather condition icon/temperature.

When it’s “Unhealthy,” the badge turns red and you can get an “Air quality” alert in the top-right with a color-coded bar. There’s also a “Hey Google, what’s the air quality near me?” voice command to get this info.

Google is sourcing data from the Environmental Protection Agency’s US AQI system, and you can find the nearest reporting station online

The EPA uses the US AQI to report air quality, which includes a number value from 0–500 and an easy-to-learn color scheme so you can quickly know if there are any concerns about the current air quality status. Higher values mean greater air pollution, and each color represents a general quality category: Good, Moderate, Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups, Unhealthy, Very Unhealthy, and Hazardous.

Air quality information on the Nest Hub is rolling out “over the coming weeks.” Google says “you can control related notifications or opt-out of seeing the AQI badge in your display’s settings at any time.” It’s unclear whether this is referring to on-device settings or the Home companion app. The company did not say today whether third-party Smart Displays will also get this useful feature.

This comes as Google Weather and Search stopped displaying air quality data on Android or the web in 2018.

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About the Author

Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: