Google has an unfortunate habit of announcing interesting features long before they actually become available, and that's again what we've seen in the case of Ambient IQ. Not to be confused with Ambient EQ, which intelligently changes the brightness and color temperature of the display on the Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max, Ambient IQ does a similar thing for audio. After being introduced in October last year alongside Google's latest hardware, the feature looks set to finally make an appearance.
As detailed in this new support page, Ambient IQ should work on a Nest Mini, Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, and Nest Wifi. If you're listening spoken content such as the news or a podcast, it's frustrating when noise from something like a kettle or a hairdryer gets in the way. Ambient IQ is able to alter the volume and equalizer settings of your speaker to adapt to whatever else is going on around you ane make it easier for you to hear your speaker. This is done on-device without sending any data to the cloud.
If you're wondering why music playback isn't included in this, Google says it's because users usually want full control over their music, and wouldn't want the volume raised to deafening levels at short notice. It's unclear whether this has already rolled out to any Nest speakers or displays, or whether it's part of an upcoming firmware update, but the support page going up suggests it's imminent at the very least. When you get it, you should notice it happening in the background without having to do anything in the settings. I tried it out on a couple of different products but it doesn't appear to be available for me just yet.
Google says Ambient IQ was quietly rolled out before now
We reached out to Google to ask what was going on with Ambient IQ, and it turns out it isn't new after all. According to Google, the feature was available on Nest Mini at launch and has since been silently made available on Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, and Nest Wifi Point. So if you have any of those products, Ambient IQ should already be doing its thing.