Ambient Mode lets you choose what your Google screens — Android TVs, Chromecasts, and smart displays — show when they're idle; it's basically a slideshow screensaver. Google's started taking the opportunity to do a little subtle advertising for its Pixel phones: a new Captured on Pixel photo category is rolling out as an Ambient Mode option.
Google has been working on an Ambient Mode for Chrome OS for quite a while — like Chromecasts or Nest displays, it's meant to show you a slideshow of artworks or a selection of images from your Google Photos library while your laptop is charging. For a few months, that's all the feature did, but the latest developer build of Chrome OS 85 changes that, as Chrome Unboxed reports. When you activate the corresponding flag in that channel, you'll see a clock and a weather widget in the bottom left corner, just like you would on a Chromecast. It's still work in progress, though.
Although it still doesn't work yet, settings controlling the long-rumored Ambient Mode for Chromebooks have appeared in the current Chrome OS Canary channel. Controlled by an easily enabled flag, the new options appear in Chrome OS's Personalization menu. At least two different modes are planned: Google Photos and an art gallery.
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.
Google made it possible to have a Nest Hub-like experience on your mobile screen—be it phone or tablet—using the Assistant-based Ambient Mode. The feature was released with support for a handful of devices, but it soon expanded to include some popular Nokia and Xiaomi phones, plus some the Lenovo tablets. Today, OnePlus announced that it is rolling out this Ambient Mode to its range of flagship handsets released after 2016.
Google Assistant has had Ambient Mode for quite some time now. The current implementation of it only works on devices like smart displays or alarm clocks. We first saw evidence that the company is working on a version of it for mobile devices when telling strings surfaced in the Google app's code – quickly followed by some images showing Ambient Mode in action on a Pixel phone. Today at IFA, Google is ready to officially launch it. The company unveiled the first batch of mobile devices supporting Ambient Mode, along with announcing Assistant support for a wide range of other audio products.
If you leave your Chromebook idle for a few minutes, it'll go to sleep. That's a sensible thing for it to do, but if you've always wished for a screensaver, your prayers may soon be answered: a recent Chromium commit shows that Chrome OS could pick up a Chromecast-style ambient mode.
The latest update to the Google Home app is out, but it's not going to give you much to look at in the form of live changes. Instead, this update appears to be largely focused on adding new hardware support for Nest security products, and possibly a few others. There's also a new feature in the works called Talk and Listen that could be a solid enhancement to the Broadcast feature.
Ambient Mode is a feature on Google smart displays and Chromecast that features rotating images — artwork, news items, or your own Google Photos, depending on your preference. Previously, if you chose to display your own photos, Google's algorithms would evaluate your pics before displaying them, filtering out the crummy ones. Now, you have the option to include your less-than-ideal shots — if you want to do that for some reason.