Google is giving 1,000 Nest Hub Max smart displays to residents in seven Merrill Gardens retirement communities in Washington state as part of a new test. The company is using it as an opportunity to provide a "new experience" that changes the smart display's interface a bit to help with ease of use and feature discovery.
Discoverability is a problem for smart displays. Google's Assistant can do a whole lot of stuff, but there's no easy list of features or handy guide out there that encompasses all of it. We follow the subject pretty religiously here at Android Police, and even we stumble onto stuff we didn't know was A Thing sometimes, so we can only imagine how hard it is for most people. And while setup is easy when it all goes well, the Google Home app is something of a nightmare to navigate when you do need to tweak things.
According to Google, this new test will include a "pre-loaded shortlist of contacts" for easier video calls and "What can you do?" cards that educate users on functionality like weather and setting alarms, all in a "signed out" mode with no audio recorded.
While this is just a test in a handful of retirement communities for now, Google has told Engadget that the company has plans to eventually roll out a new experience similar to this, but that it "won’t be exactly the same, but based on the same goal."