We select and review products independently. When you purchase through our links we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Google’s New “Guest Mode” for Smart Displays Completely Misses the Point

Google Nest Hub with directions to work on the screen.

If you have a Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, or any of the Nest smart speakers, the devices are likely full of your personal details. Nest Hubs helpfully show calendar appointments, recent searches, and more. But what if you don’t want houseguests to see all that juicy info? Google’s new guest mode, rolling out right now promises to take care of that. But it doesn’t.

Ask a Nest Hub or smart speaker to “turn on Guest Mode” and it will hide your profile picture and your personal information, like calendar appointments and contacts. It’ll even act as a pseudo-incognito mode. Any searches or voices commands you use won’t be stored. But you’ll still have access to smart home controls, family bells, broadcast, and more.


But right now, the implementation is a little lacking. Never mind that we’re in the middle of a global pandemic and many people don’t have guests anymore, it’s too easy to get out of guest mode. To leave guest mode just ask your Google device to “turn off Guest Mode.” Normally we praise ease of use, but anyone can turn of guest mode—even your guests. If your guests are really the prying type, this doesn’t seem like much of a barrier.

You’ll also have to enable it one by one for every smart speaker and display in your home. Turning guest mode on for one device doesn’t turn it on for the rest. It would be nice to have a command for turning on guest mode across the home. And you’ll still see plenty of personal stuff, like pictures from your ambient display.

At least if you have a relative who likes to prank your smart speakers with dumb searches, those queries won’t be saved and come back to haunt you in the future. If you remembered to turn on guest mode, that is.

Source: Google via 9to5Google

Josh Hendrickson Josh Hendrickson
Josh Hendrickson is the Editor in Chief of Review Geek and is responsible for the site's content direction. He has worked in IT for nearly a decade, including four years spent repairing and servicing computers for Microsoft. He’s also a smart home enthusiast who built his own smart mirror with just a frame, some electronics, a Raspberry Pi, and open-source code. Read Full Bio »