What you need to know
- Google is testing a new home button on its Nest smart displays.
- Pressing the home button will bring up the card display.
- It is uncertain if this is just a test or if Google will roll it out more widely in the future.
One of the great things about smart speakers and displays is the fact that they are always evolving. Thanks to processing in the cloud and regular updates, your home will continue getting smarter over time.
A prime example of this would be the new ultrasonic sensing Google-enabled on Nest displays back in November. With this new feature, your Nest display was able to detect whether you are near or far away from the device and change what is shown on the screen. For example, when setting a timer, if you are further away the size of the numbers will increase to make it easier to read. This feature currently works with timers, commute times, and weather. Soon, it will roll out with support for even more actions.
Another recent change are the new on-screen buttons for managing photos on your Nest Hub. With these new buttons, you can easily share, favorite, or hide images directly from the smart display. All of these actions were previously available with voice commands, but having the option to do it with touch makes it more interactive and convenient if you're closeby.
Now, it looks as if Google is testing a new feature combining both the ultrasonic sensing and on-screen buttons. Recently, some users have reported of a new home button on the device that appears when you get close to the screen. The button reminds us of the old school home icon from the navigation bar in previous versions of Android. It is also the same icon used for the Google Home app.
Pressing the home button brings up the card view on the display. That's no different than what would happen if you tapped the photo previously, but maybe that wasn't as obvious to new users and Google is looking for a way to give helpful hints.
So far, it appears this has only rolled out to a limited number of Nest smart display users. At this time, it is uncertain whether this is just a test, if Google will roll it out to more Nest displays soon, or if the home button will make its way to all Google-powered smart displays in the future.
Big screen, smart display
A Google smart display with a camera
Google's latest smart display is anything but ordinary. It stands out from the crowd with an ambient EQ display, facial recognition, and hands-free gestures to control media playback.
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