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(Pocket-lint) - Google is introducing a new feature for its Nest Hub smart displays: Air Quality Information.

Air Quality Information can provide you with more information about how much risk you might face from smoke and pollution in the area. For instance, the Western US wildfires not only affect the West side of the country but have been proven to hurt air quality on the East Coast, as well. New York State even issued a health advisory in July 2021 when smoke arrived from the Bootleg Fire in Oregon, which is thousands of miles away.

Many Americans may be unaware of this fact, but if they owned Nest Hub, they'd be able to get data alerts and be more informed. 

How does Air Quality Information work on Nest Hub?

AQI badge and voice command

An Air Quality Index badge, or AQI badge, will show up on the clock and weather widget on the Nest Hub’s Ambient screen. Google said you will be able to opt-out. So, when the feature rolls out, Pocket-lint will update this guide with steps on how to opt-out for those who may not be interested.

In areas where Google’s new air quality feature is available, Nest Hubs will issue an alert when pollution reaches an unhealthy level - including a level that’s unhealthy for “sensitive groups". The Nest Hub will also respond to the following voice command: “What’s the air quality near me?”

How AQI is calculated

AQI data comes from the US Environmental Protection Agency. It rates air quality on a scale from 0 to 500, with zero being the best air quality.

The EPA also offers colour-coded category ratings ranging from “good” to “hazardous” air quality. The EPA determines your air quality risk by assessing pollutants such as carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, smog, and particle pollution like soot and smoke. 

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Do you need Nest Hub to learn about your area's air quality?

No. The EPA has a network of thousands of air quality sensors across the nation that track and provide Air Quality Information through the AirNow website. Just enter your location to get an AQI rating. There’s also the EPA’s Fire and Smoke Map that shows how far wildfire smoke can reach. 

When will Air Quality Information be available on Nest Hub?

Air Quality Information, at launch, is only available in “select” US markets. It's rolling out "over the coming weeks" - so by early September 2021.

Writing by Maggie Tillman. Originally published on 14 August 2021.