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.
Bit by bit, Google is stripping Play Music (GPM) away from the service's loyal users, gnawing at every feature and integration, and switching it over to YouTube Music. The latest victim is the Assistant integration which lets you play your music on Home, Nest, and third-party speakers and displays.
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.
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.
For those of you who use your Assistant-equipped Smart Displays and speakers to broadcast music around different rooms of the house at the same time, Google has made a small improvement. Devices and cast targets can now be added and removed on the fly without creating new groups, which should make things a little more convenient for some.
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.
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).
When Google introduced the Nest Hub Max, it came with a built-in camera and microphone that allowed for two-way video calling. Sadly, it was only possible to have one-to-one sessions until now, meaning you couldn't join conferences from your smart display. The company is now expanding the device's capabilities by enabling you to join group calls straight from your Hub Max.
If you're looking for an inexpensive miniature smart display, the Lenovo Smart Clock is worth considering. It cost $80 at launch, which was too high for what it offered. Thankfully, you can now snatch it for half its original price, as it's dropped to just $40.