Google is enhancing the functionality on its Assistant smart displays with a new update. Starting this week, smart displays like the Nest Hub will get a new home screen with new touch functionalities, a dark theme, and multiple account support for calendar events. The biggest change among these is the home screen, which goes away from the single-page horizontal list of notifications and cards. The new home screen interface on Google smart displays will now be divided into five sections – Time of Day, Home Control, Media, Communicate, and Discover. These new home screen sections can be switched by using tabs on the top of the screen.
The Time of Day tab will change depending on the time and will present cards with relevant information that Google deems important at that time. The Time of Day tab will work according to Your Mornings, Your Evenings, and Your Afternoons, and will show a user’s upcoming events and reminders for each day, alongside other information weather, news, and music controls. For example, in the morning, the smart display will show the weather report for the day, but in the night it will give forecast for the next day. Similarly, it will show cards for upcoming meetings or appointments. The Time of Day tab also includes clickable tiles for playing music, news reports, controlling other smart home devices, and more.
The Media tab, on the other hand, will have bigger tiles that will include information about what is playing and the controls below it. The Media tab can also tell users what’s playing on their other smart devices connected via Google Home.
The Home Control tab is where all the smart home controls are. The Home Control tab also offers an overview of all the gadgets a user has connected via their Google Home app, with each device getting its own card, which can be further used to switch those devices on or off. The discover tab shows suggested content and advertisements for you, based on you online behaviour.
Lastly, the Communicate tab on the new Google smart display home screen allows users to Duo call their contacts.
The primary screen that shows up when the smart display is not being used remains unchanged, still showing a slideshow of photos or a static clock, depending on what the user has set up.
In addition to the new Google Home smart display interface, Google is also adding dark mode that will turn on automatically depending on the time of the day (same as Google Maps), the room’s ambient light, or can be manually set to dark theme. Further, a new sunrise alarm will gradually increase the brightness of the screen and the volume of the alarm making it more difficult for users to miss their alarms.
Lastly, Google is finally adding the ability to see information from multiple accounts on a smart display. Users can now view information from both personal and work Google accounts at the same time on their smart displays. However, this functionality is still limited to viewing Calendar reminders/appointments. Google says that users can connect up to five different Google Meet accounts on a single display.
These new updates come as Google’s attempt to give more touch-based functionality to smart displays which are majorly used with voice-based controls.