Google's Nest Hub makes it easy to display all of those photos sitting unseen on your phone. It takes digital photo frames to a whole new level, especially considering the enhancements Google Photos can bring to your collection. Photo sharing from any Nest Hub device has been possible for years, but a new interface is coming soon that streamlines the experience.
A big update is rolling out to Nest Hubs and third-party Google Assistant smart displays with lots of cool new features, many of which have been promised or teased/leaked for several months. The changes first started showing up several weeks ago, but are now rolling out to a wider audience. You can now (well, if the features have reached your unit) use your display as a sunrise alarm, put the Google weather frog as a background, leave sticky notes for your family to read, and more.
Despite the potential consequences, many of us tend to join preview programs fairly often. Sometimes the early software releases give us new features and improvements well ahead of other users, but from time to time, they have some unfortunate side effects. If you're using a Google Nest Hub Max to provide connectivity to a Nest Detect or Next x Yale Lock, and you've received a recent firmware update as part of the preview program, there's a good chance those security devices have lost internet connectivity. But the good news: There's a simple fix.
For a year defined by videoconferencing, our smart displays have not been able to keep up as a worthy companion — mostly because the apps either aren't there or aren't very good. But there's a giant improvement due for the cross-section of Nest Hub Max owners and Google Meet users and even bigger news for those on Zoom.
Google gave smart display owners a little Thanksgiving surprise when it shared that you'd get a cute animation and noise by setting a "turkey timer," but that's not the only fun Easter egg the company has added. Depending on what label you give your timer, Google smart displays will show you a fitting animation and noise, and we've collected a few of our favorite ones.
This story was originally published and last updated .
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Google's latest smart displays come with ultrasound sensing, a neat tech that uses ultrasonic waves to measure distance to nearby objects and adapt the UI depending on how near of far you are. Timers, weather reports, media controls, and other elements grow larger when you step away, to make it easier for you to spot them at a distance, then return to their regular size when you come close. This same technology appears to be at the heart of a new feature Google is working on, which proactively triggers Assistant the moment you come near without you having to say "Hey Google" first.
Google has been making smart displays with Assistant for over two years now, but they've functioned more or less the same that entire time. Some models have upgraded features, like the wide-angle lens on the Nest Hub Max, but the core software experience hasn't changed. That's no longer the case, as Google is finally rolling out the upgraded UI that was first spotted in September.
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.
Call it a quality-of-life update or maybe even a "quality-of-memory" update: Google will soon begin listing dates and locations of users' own pictures if they have turned on Google Photos slideshows for their Nest displays and/or Chromecast screens. Display and Chromecast owners were emailed about the change which begins rolling out September 15.