Google Smart Display update really ties the rooms together

Chris Burns - Oct 19, 2020, 1:46pm CDT
Google Smart Display update really ties the rooms together

Google revealed a set of feature updates today for the Google Smart Display experience. This update comes to devices like the Lenovo Smart Display and Nest Hub, and will likely be the base UI for all official Google Smart Display units in the future. This new system sets all functionality in a series of five categories, including: Your Day, Home Control, Communicate, Discover, and Media.

Sections

The Home control section shows all the connected devices throughout the users home – assuming they’re all connected to the same smart home system, of course. That’ll be most helpful if you’ve got a bunch of Nest devices, Google Home cameras, speakers, and the like.

The Media page shows podcasts, music, movies, and TV shows with suggestions from connected platforms. That includes YouTube TV (for music), Spotify (for music, podcasts), Netflix, and Disney+, as well as the rest of the Google Play media system. From this screen you can watch or listen to media or cast to a different device.

The Communicate page works with Google Meet, Duo, and will soon connect with the video chat system Zoom. This system allows you to start meetings, video calls, voice calls, or message other smart devices in rooms throughout your home “with a Broadcast card.”

The first page users will see when they look at or interact with the Google Smart Display in the morning is the “Your …” page. This is called something different depending on the time of day: Your Morning, Your Afternoon, Your Evening. This includes weather, connection to your calendar for meetings, timers, and other items like a view of a lamp you’ve recently turned on.

Discover Page

The Discover page on the Google Smart Display experience (the upgraded experience) is meant to show users what’s new. This includes new features that’ve just arrived on Google’s smart display experience as well as new (or just interesting) elements throughout the smart display universe.

Dark Mode on Smart Displays

The Dark Mode that’s swept the smart device universe is here for smart displays at last. Users can change the color scheme of the smart display UI for the whole day, or choose “Automatic.” With automatic color scheme, colors will adjust based on ambient light OR when the sun usually rises and sets. No promises if our planet stars moving closer to the sun – or gets pulled out of orbit. You’ll probably need to go manual from that point on.

Calendar / Accounts integration

The key feature in this mega-update is the ability to roll with multiple accounts on a single device. This works for personal accounts, work accounts, kids accounts, whatever you’ve got. With this upgrade, users will be able to work with “upcoming events and meetings in one place” without having to switch accounts.

This update works with all Google Assistant-enabled devices where users can access their Calendar. That’s on Smart Display devices like Nest Hub Max, Android phones and tablets, and iOS devices. This also works with Google Workspace users enrolled in the Google Assistant Beta program.

Update release date

If you’re using a Smart Display from Google that has a display 7-inches large or larger, you could see this update today. It’ll be sent to devices over the next week. It’s expected that the Communicate page and its features may take a bit longer, depending on how quick Google Meet is activated to match what Google’s claimed.


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