(Pocket-lint) - With the launch of the new Google Nest Hub, the company is making a bold and calculated move for a place on your bedside table.
Instead of aiming to solely complement your day with Spotify playback and weather reports like before, the new Nest Hub will double up as a bonafide sleep tracker and help manage your night's rest.
At first glance, it's an eyebrow-raiser - bedside sleep monitors are far from typical in the tracking space, after all. However, this technology is something that's been executed very effectively before, albeit by smaller companies.
Instead of leveraging movement and heart rate sensors like a smartwatch, fitness tracker or mat tracker, bedside equivalents are background actors. Nest Hub's Sleep Sensing - as Google is calling it - will take advantage of the Google Soli low-energy radar technology to analyse how the person closest to the display slept.
It's able to register movement and breathing, sleep disturbances like coughing and snoring, and light and temperature changes - all without an intrusive camera or data ever leaving the device, and, crucially, without you having to wear something throughout the night.
Unobtrusiveness is the big sell with bedside monitoring, and it's one Google is wise to bet on.
The battery life of the average wearable may have improved considerably over the last few years, but it's still far from being an elegant method. Tracking mats are less obtrusive, sure, but the accuracy of the technology can also vary dramatically depending on your mattress, whether you share a bed, or if you just simply roll around a lot during the night.
It's why it's high time that a company like Google rolled the dice on bedside technology.
Startups like SleepScore and ResMed have already shown that this technology can work, delivering accurate sleep reports based on the same metrics Google's Nest Hub will track. As with any new area, however, bedside tracking needs momentum and competition in order to develop.
In Google, the concept of bedside sleep monitoring has perhaps the perfect bedfellow.
The company may not be famed for harnessing all the potential from acquired companies, but the indication that Fitbit will assist Sleep Sensing in the future makes this an even more intriguing space to watch.
Unfortunately, there are no details just yet on how Google will integrate the data gathered by Fitbit's wearables. Given Fitbit's long-standing position as the top dog of wearable sleep tracking, though, it's not hard to envisage how Google could quickly gain a hold on the sleep tracking market.
If the Nest Hub winds up being a convincing and accurate monitor that users can place in the background, and there is still the option to integrate with technology that accesses different features, such as heart monitoring, that's as rounded a system as we've ever seen.
So, while the concept may seem like a gamble at first, the latest Nest Hub is, in fact, the perfect device to help Google become the sleep tracking go-to.
It's also a great progression for the Nest Hub itself. As its lifecycle went on, the original's place in the smart home became harder to figure out. The larger Nest Hub Max was the better fit for kitchens and hallways, while a device like the Lenovo Smart Clock was a natural option for bedrooms.
Now, it's Google's ace in the sleep tracking realm. With Fitbit by its side, too, we wouldn't bet against it.