December 11, 2019

October’s visual revamp of the Google Home companion app did nothing to tame the complicated assortment of Assistant device preferences. However, one tweak rolled out this past week tries to clarify how personalization and notification settings — particularly for the Nest Hub — works.

To get notifications on Smart Displays and speakers, “Personal results” have to be enabled. This setting lets Assistant show your photos, email, calendar, contacts, reminders, and YouTube recommendations, as well as make verbal payments. On devices with screens, those items can also appear on the homescreen as cards.

The Google Home app has a new “Recognition & Personalization” menu located in Device settings. It’s available on both a Nest Hub (firmware 1.44) and Home Mini (firmware 1.42) that we checked this evening. These new Nest Hub personalization and notification settings also require the latest Google Home app (2.15 or 2.16+) and are currently only on Android.

Choose what you want your Nest Hub to recognize and how it should your experience.

The first toggle lets you “Allow personal results.” If that’s enabled, you can determine “How personal results appear.” “Always show proactively” will display cards from apps like YouTube, YouTube Music, YouTube TV, Podcasts, and local events. “Never” might only show Top stories and relevant Assistant commands.

These settings are not new, but previously just toggles called “Personal results” and “Home screen & notifications.” With this clarification, wording could still be simpler, but it’s an improved implementation overall that does a better job explaining what everything controls.

Related to this change on Smart Displays are separate “Banner notifications” settings (under the Photo Frame menu). This particular feature requires Personal Results to be enabled, as well as “Ultrasound sensing.” Google last week detailed how it’s using echolocation to determine when you’re physically near a device to show alerts for “upcoming events, flights, and more.”

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