Your Google Smart Display is getting a much-needed software update
It’s about damn time.
Remember the simple days of voice assistants when they were only really good for answering questions that you could have typed into a search engine? Yeah, those days are gone and good riddance. I mean, I love controlling my home with my voice, although I’m careful not to bark orders just in case I’m advertently the cause of the AI uprising.
The thing is, not everyone wants to use their smart homes as voice first, so Google is overhauling its range of smart displays for a new software experience.
That update will turn smart displays like Google’s own Nest Hub or the Lenovo Smart Display into the command hub of your home. The redesigned UI will split all of your home controlling needs into five categories: Your Day, Home Control, Media, Communicate, and Discover. Oh, and it’ll finally have a native dark mode, so you won’t be blinded while using it at night.
As it sounds, Your Day will have the usual things from saying, “Ok Google, tell me about my day.” That includes weather reports, upcoming events, and running timers. It’ll also change as the day goes on, with your most important activities from the morning, afternoon, and evening as time passes.
Controlling all your smart devices will be easier from the Home Control tab, which lets you control things like lights with a few taps, instead of activating the smart display with your voice first. Perfect for those late-night mood changes, or not disturbing sleeping children.
The new Media tab will show you what’s playing throughout your home or even let you use the smart display as a mini TV. Yes, that means YouTube, Netflix, Disney+, and more, will all be playable on your display. Nice. Oh, and it’ll show your favorite podcasts too.
Suppose you need to keep in touch with friends or coworkers, head on to the Communicate tab. That’ll have fast access to saved phone numbers, a button for using your smart speakers as intercoms, and things like Google Meet (and Zoom later this year). The Nest Hub Max will use its tracking tech to keep your face centered during calls, so that’s a worthy reason to upgrade to the more expensive device.
The last section, Discover, will have suggestions for new recipes, artists to listen to, or smart display functions that you’ve not discovered on your own. It sounds like the smart display is finally growing up.
This update is rolling out now to all Google Assistant smart displays of seven inches or higher, and Google estimates it’ll take a week for everyone to get it. The Google Meet integration should be fully rolled out a week after that.
- Google Assistant will be able to turn some Android devices into smart displays with Ambient Mode
- The Google and Nest merger brings with it an updated Nest Hub Max smart display
- Lenovo’s Smart Display with Google Assistant wants you to forget about Alexa
- There’s a new super thin OLED display for smartphones that literally flaps in the wind
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