Google Introduces a 'Brand New Experience' for Smart Displays

Ruben Fields
October 20, 2020

After announcements of some hardware and updates to search, Google introduced some new features for Google Assistant that will be released soon which includes a new UI and a dark theme mode.

The move may be only somewhat strategic - Google has recently invested $450 million in ADT, saying that Nest devices will "become the cornerstone of ADT's smart home offering" suggesting a replacement may still be in the offing.

The new visual layout will also have a "Home control" page to allow users to manage all their connected devices across their home, and a "Your morning" page which will evolve to reflect the time of the day to pages such as "Your afternoon" and "Your evening". So, in the mornings you'll see the "Your Morning" card with important information that Google thinks you may need to know first thing in the morning. This page will also be home to personalized recommendations for music and shows from linked services such as Disney+, Netflix, YouTube TV, and Spotify.

Google's Nest smart home cameras help keep things safe inside and outside your house wherever you are. In a moment, users will be able to customize the appearance of the app on their smart display using pinning, four-person grid, and pinch-and-zoom. Google Meet can also be customized, with regard to how the contacts on your video call are displayed, although Google says that particular feature will be coming later in the year. Users can now view information from both personal and work Google accounts at the same time on their smart displays.

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"Google Nest will no longer be producing Nest Secure, however, we will continue to support our security users in all the same ways", a Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge.

Assistant-powered smart displays are now getting dark theme support. There is also a "Discover" section that will introduce users to the capabilities of their smart display. With the Google and Nest displays you can choose light or dark, or pick an automatic setting that switches between the two either based on ambient light, or on local sunrise and sunset times.

To help you wake up, the new interface lets you set the display brightness to increase gradually in the minutes before your alarm goes off, mimicking sunrise in a bid to help you wake up more naturally. Speaking of which, Google Meet on the Nest Hub Max will now auto-frame the camera to focus on you.

The "Your evening" page brings new relaxing sounds that you can play if you feel like. You can set a sleep timer that will fade out the sound by the time you go to sleep.

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