This story was originally published and last updated .
One of the most appealing uses of a Google Nest Hub or other Assistant Smart Display is as a photo album viewer. It plugs in to Google Photos and rotates through any album you want to view, providing you with (hopefully) good memories throughout the day as you pass by when it's idle. But static albums can be boring after a while, that's why you can make some live-updating ones so you never have to manually choose or change anything.
In the tutorial below, I'll explain how you can create dynamic albums that automatically add photos of specific people or pets in your life, then set them up to show on your Google Nest Hub, Nest Hub Max, Lenovo Smart Display, JBL Link View, or any other upcoming Assistant speaker with a built-in display.
If you're quarantined at home, you might enjoy the company of a smart display. It'll help you get through your day, cook, and stay in touch with loved ones. JBL's Link View offers excellent audio quality, combined with a front-facing camera and microphones, letting you enjoy a complete smart display experience. When it came out, the device cost about $300, but it's now down to just $100 at Best Buy.
JBL was one of the first companies to release a third-party Google Assistant smart display. While the JBL Link View certainly produces richer sound than any other Assistant display, the original $250 price tag was hard to justify. Now you can grab a refurbished unit for the low price of $69 from the company's eBay store. Nice.
Assistant-powered smart displays got a little bit smarter recently, as Google has just announced a brand new media view for its Nest Hub displays. In our testing, the feature is also live for at least some other non-Nest smart displays already, bringing you a clear view of which devices in which rooms are playing media, plus granular speaker controls, a global pause button, and fully remote media control.
If you haven't already bought a smart display and you aren't skipping out over privacy concerns, you really should pick one up. They're a lot more than just a "digital photo frame," providing all the same utility as a smart speaker, plus piles of extra interaction from a touchscreen. But you might want to be careful about which smart display you buy. Lenovo's newest Smart Display 7 might have an attractive design, but it's got piles of little problems that might make the identically-priced (and often discounted) Nest Hub a better choice. Sadly, it doesn't quite live up to the high standards set by Lenovo's previous models, either.
For anyone that loves cooking and spending time mixing and matching things in the kitchen, online recipe sites are a godsend. You type in a few ingredients and get dozens if not hundreds of recipe suggestions. But if you have a dietary restriction and don't want to waste your time sifting through the results looking for the ones that fit your preference, you can now tick a couple of boxes and Google will remember that for you. At least it will do so in Assistant on smart displays.
When I set up my smart home infrastructure, I waited until Black Friday discounts to pay a little less for all my intelligent devices. Whether you're starting from scratch or want to add new products to your existing smart home configuration, you'll be able to benefit from exciting markdowns on a wide array of Nest products. These include security cameras, alarms, locks, thermostats, smart speakers, connected displays, and Wi-Fi routers. The markdowns will be available from November 28 until December 4, which will give you plenty of time to shop.
Cutting the cord is a difficult decision, but Sling makes it easier. Its service offers live TV so there's no need to give up on football, your local stations, or the 24-hour news cycle. Sling has supported Chromecast for some time now, and today the company is adding voice control options as well as the ability to stream on your Google Assistant smart displays.
Although smartphones are almost a necessity in the modern world, smart speakers and smart displays don't enjoy the same kind of perception despite their much lower cost. Case in point, Samsung alone shipped 78.9 million phones in Q3 2019, while all the smart speaker manufacturers in the world combined shipped less than 30 million units in the same time period. Smart speakers with displays take up an even smaller share. Regardless, both the smart speaker and smart display markets continue to be hotly contested, and most companies experienced healthy year-over-year growth in Q3 2019. The major exception was Google, whose market share dropped like a rock.
You might remember a decade ago when everyone wanted a digital photo frame, but those devices were all junk. In the era of smart displays, we finally have good digital photo frames powered by Google Photos that happen to do a lot of other things, too. The experience is getting a bit better today with the addition of dates in the photo slideshow. However, they only appear on some photos.