A couple of weeks ago, a new interface appeared for one of our tipsters on his Nest Hub Max. He showed us the tabbed UI, with more on-device controls and actionable cards, in a short video that had revealed it all — or so we thought at the time. What we're discovering now is that there's a new dark mode coming to the Hub Max (and possibly other smart displays?) and a new tap-and-hold gesture as well.
In the new video below, courtesy of the same tipster, Jan Boromeusz, you can see the new interface's on-boarding experience. Assistant's helpful voice should guide you through the different changes, explaining the tab strip on top, but also the option to tap and hold any card to get more options. At this point, the only two possibilities seem to be dismissing it and opening it, though I hope more actions could be added later (never show this card again, hide for today, etc...).
But we all know you're here for the dark theme, so let's get straight to that. Around the 2:45 minute mark in the video, you can see the "Turn on dark theme" card in the "Discover" tab. We presume this will also be accessible from the Hub's settings, but we're waiting for Jan to confirm that to us. Tapping the card reveals three theming options: light, dark, and auto — the latter "match[es] the environment based on sunrise or sunset or ambient light conditions."
The sneak peek is very brief, though, and we only get to see one screen dotted with the dark mode (we've asked Jan for a longer video or more photos, and will update this post if we get them). But from the little we see, it seems that the entire interface switches to dark gray, with lighter cards, similar to what we've come to expect from Google's various mobile apps.
An automatic dark mode is long overdue and more than welcome on smart displays. When it's late at night or early in the morning, and the lights are off, no one wants to stare into an eye-searing bright white screen. Even the Ambient EQ, low-light mode, minimum brightness, and other options can't replace a proper dark mode, and that seems to be on the way. Hopefully, it'll make it to all Assistant displays and not just Google's first-party Nest Hubs.
If you're eager to try this updated interface and dark theme, I'm sorry to tell you there's nothing you can do to get them right away. Jan is running software version v32.24.0, which as far as we know hasn't rolled out widely yet. You could sign in for the Preview program in your Nest display's settings, and hope that'll speed up the process, but that didn't trigger it for us.
Jan sent us a few more photos of this new dark theme. You can see that his unit is running a dogfood software version, which is why he has a new interface none of us have on our units yet.
- Jan Boromeusz