Google has started to roll out its new Sunrise feature, which it first detailed as part of a wide-ranging software update for its smart home gadgets last year. Sunrise comes as part of a tweak to the way alarms are handled on touchscreen-fitted Google Nest devices, including the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max.
Following the software update, which is rolling out worldwide right now Google-centric blog 9To5Google has reported, users will be able to swipe up from the homage to access a list of all current alarms. Google has also added a prominent Set An Alarm button in the lower left-hand corner. Until now, Google Nest owners would have to use voice-activated Google Assistant to set-up a new alarm.
Setting up an alarm with the touchscreen will present options like alarm volume, tone, snooze length, as well as “gestures to snooze,” which will presumably use the ultrasound sensing already available in Google-branded smart home kit to let you dismiss an alarm by wave your hand …or making rude gestures from bed.
But the most interesting new addition is the aforementioned Sunrise. This alarm will “slowly brighten like a sunrise to gently wake you”. This takes place gradually ahead of the time you’ve set for your alarm. Google lets you choose just how gradual that’ll be, increasing in five-minute increments from 5 minutes to half an hour. Cleverly, Google lets you add any smart bulbs that you manage via the Google Home into the mix too, so you can have bedside table lights, or lamps in the corner of your room, gently brighten at the same time.
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This promises to be a much more natural way of waking up – comparing with a shrieking alarm in a pitch-black room. Studies have shown that bedside lights designed to simulate sunrise leave people feeling more refreshed and ready for the day as the gradual increase in light in the room ensures you’re not in deep-sleep when the alarm kicks-in.
Unfortunately, there’s currently no equivalent feature on Amazon’s touchscreen-enabled Alexa devices, like the Alexa Show 5, which could leave them feeling a little groggier than their Google-equipped counterparts. Philips Hue offers a similar feature with its own dedicated SmartSleep Wake-Up Light, which also ties into the smart lighting solution that works with both Google Assistant and Alexa.
The Google Nest update with Sunrise is slowly rolling out now, so keep checking your bedside click to find out whether you’ve got the latest features.