With our Nest Audio review now in the books, we’ve been talking about smart speakers around the office more than usual. With that being the case, we’ve had to reference Google’s growing array of smart speakers a lot and it should come as no surprise that the naming at this point feels more than clunky: it just feels off.
I’ll be the first to admit that, at first, I wasn’t on board with all the Nest naming that began with the Nest Hub Max and the eventual re-brand of the original Google Home Hub as the Nest Hub. When the Nest Mini launched as a sequel to the very-popular Google Home Mini and completely did away with the Google Home part of the branding, I was unsure about it, too, but I began coming to grips with the new naming system at that point.
With Nest Audio coming out this month and solidifying the fact that Google’s smart home stuff is all looking to be Nest branded, I think it is time for them to consider a few moves that will put the entire speaker lineup into perspective and make it far easier for general consumers to sort through the offerings and make a more-informed purchase.
Drop the original Google Home Mini
Now that we’re over a year out from the launch of the Nest Mini, I think it is time for the older, inferior Google Home Mini to go away. Just like the original Google Home, this device needs to be retired in light of its far-superior successor being widely available for many months now. There’s no reason we can’t see crazy deals on the Nest Mini at this point and – let’s face it – that’s all the original Google Home Mini is really good for at this stage in the game.
The Nest Mini is simply a better speaker in every single way, being bested by its predecessor in only one way: price. As we’re over a year into the Nest Mini’s life, the time feels right for Google to drop the old speaker and let the Nest Mini become the affordable, smaller, bundle-prone device that the Google Home Mini has been in the past.
Re-brand the Google Home Max
The Google Home Max – now priced at a very reasonable $299 – is still my favorite smart speaker on the market. I love its sound, I love its look, and I think the combo of its smarts and rich audio make it such a pleasure to listen to every single day.
I have just one problem with it now: the naming is all wrong. If the Google Home Max is the largest Google-made speaker that exists to compliment the small, affordable Nest Mini and well-outfitted Nest Audio, then the name should reflect this change. Something like Nest Audio Max or Nest Max would make the most sense at this point, and they wouldn’t need to do too much to make that happen other than shipping some new packaging and changing the name via a firmware update so that it shows up with a new name in the Google Home app for users.
Additionally, Google could go the extra mile and simply give the Google Home Max a slightly updated shell to more-closely align its general aesthetic with the Nest Audio, change the name, and ship it as a low-key update to an already-fantastic speaker. They somewhat did this with the Google Wi-Fi and no one really thought anything of it, so I don’t see why they couldn’t make a similar move with the largest of their speakers, too.
Nest Audio Mini?
Finally, they could rebrand the Nest Mini as the Nest Audio Mini over time. Other than packaging and a firmware update, this wouldn’t require any other work to accomplish. This one is the least important, however, as the Nest Mini name is simple, clean, and easy to remember. As the Nest Audio and Google Home Max both exist as smart speakers, however, it still feels odd that only one of them has a speaker-related word in the name.
I think a speaker lineup called Nest Audio Mini, Nest Audio, and Nest Audio Max would make so much more sense as consumers are looking at options. If they’ve already decided the Google Assistant is the smart assistant they want, Google needs to make the choice on which speaker to buy that much more simple. With the smart displays, they re-branded and got things in line. There’s a standard Nest Hub and a Nest Hub Max. Simple. A realignment on the speaker branding would make the speaker lineup similarly straightforward, too.