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.
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.
Wake-up calls and extra towels are things you'd traditionally call the hotel lobby to request, but Google wants to change it up a bit. The company already added Interpreter Mode for smart displays in hotel lobbies early last year, but it's now adding some hotel room-specific features to its Nest Hubs. A few hotels in the US and UK have already added Nest Hubs to their rooms.
The onset of COVID-19 caused a rapid growth in demand for video conferencing apps, as school classes and office meetings everywhere went virtual. Google Meet and Google Duo added support for group video calls on smart displays earlier this summer, but now another popular contender is poised to join the club: Zoom will be available on smart displays from Google, Facebook, and Amazon later this year.
You can look all the way back to the launch of the first Pixel phone to find Google has been tinkering with games in Assistant. Four years later and Google's directory of voice-controlled games is brimming with activities you can use to pass the time. And since smart displays have become a substantial part of the Assistant ecosystem, Google's sights are set on some more visually stimulating experiences that involve interaction through both voice and touch.
Usually, we're stuck waiting for dark themes to land, but today's news is the opposite: A more uniform light theme has rolled out to Nest smart displays. Seemingly delivered via a software update (v. 220.127.116.110035839, according to 9to5Google), more UI elements now match the otherwise bright white light theme on both smart displays.
Smart Displays are handy devices, whether you place them in your kitchen to assist you while cooking, next to your bed to have a quick glance at the weather in the morning, or in your kid's room to watch YouTube videos while you change their diapers. Unfortunately, until now, they weren't able to play your favorite Netflix shows, but this wrong has now been righted, and you'll get to enjoy watching Netflix content right from your Nest Hub and Hub Max.
Google is carrying on with its month of Nest product sales, and while there (sadly) haven't been any discounts on single items, we have seen some decent bundles so far. Today, Google is selling the Nest Hello Video Doorbell and Nest Hub together for $268.99, a discount of $50 compared to buying them separately.
Launched late last year, the Nest Hub Max packs a lot into a single device. It's a Google Assistant smart speaker with a 10" HD display, and now it even supports group video calling via Duo and Meet. As part of the Google Store's new daily specials event, you can pick up a Nest Hub Max 2-pack for $383 ($75 off).
One of the more annoying things about Google products outside the US is their limited availability. While we have it good here in Google's home country, other places don't always get every product. Fortunately for folks in South Korea, The Nest Hub and Nest Mini are both now available in that market.