Google’s been on a roll lately. After announcing new hardware and major updates to search, the company today introduced a bunch of new features coming to Assistant-powered displays soon, including a new, more intuitive UI and a dark mode.
The new UI is meant to make it easier to interact with the display and access the information you’re looking for without having to summon the Assistant. Previously the displays features a long list of functions would could scroll through, and it could be difficult to access the exact feature you wanted. Now the displays will divide functions into a few different pages.
The first of these pages is called ‘Your Morning,’ ‘Your Afternoon,’ or ‘Your Evening,’ on which the assistant will serve up some recommendations based on what it thinks would be most useful to you. For example, the Your Morning screen might show “a reminder for your first meeting, a run down of the morning news and a glance at the weather ahead,” according to Google.
The ‘Home Control’ page give you one area to access all your smart thingamajigs like lightbulbs and cameras. ‘Media’ is handy for starting a YouTube video, podcast, and the like, while ‘Communicate’ makes it easy to start a Meet or Duo call (Zoom support arrives “later this year”). Lastly, ‘Discover’ helps you learn about the different features accessible on your smart display.
The other most visible new feature is the ability to active a dark theme on these displays. It makes just as much sense on a smart display as it might on your phone, making the panel easier on your eyes, especially at night. You can also set the display to change automatically depending on the time of day, should you prefer something brighter while the sun is out.
Other updates include the ability to run both personal and work accounts on smart displays — useful for meetings and calls — the ability to auto-frame your webcam image on the Nest Hub Max, and the ability to raise the brightness of your screen before your alarm goes off.
The features are rolling out now, though some might take longer to arrive.