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Google revamps its Smart Displays' UI, brings dark theme, new features, and more

Google has unveiled a major UI refresh to the Assistant-powered smart displays, which comes less than a month after a leaked video of the UI made it to the web. The design ditches the heavy focus on voice-enabled controls to bring a more touch-friendly design while adding a bunch of new features like support for multiple accounts, a dark theme, and more.

The biggest change is in the UI, with the whole experience now geared towards tabs and contextual suggestions. The ‘Your morning’ page serves up reminders, meetings, news, and other information. This page cycles through the day, changing suggestions based on the time of the day. The interface now also houses a ‘Home control’ page for controlling smart home and connected devices. Users can scroll down to access the ‘Discover’ page to look at other functions and suggestions.

The ‘Media’ page collates content from all entertainment-based apps like YouTube and Spotify to offer recommendations for songs, podcasts, content from other services like Netflix, and more. The search giant also lists the recent Meet and Duo integration that enables group video calls on smart displays, with the firm confirming that Zoom will also be making it to these devices later this year.

The Nest Hub Max will also receive the video auto-framing feature later this year that helps keep subjects in the middle of the frame during a call. As for improvements to the user experience, there is a new dark theme for those that prefer it.

Another much-awaited feature addition is the support for interacting with multiple accounts. Users can now manage personal and work accounts without having to constantly switch between them, helping users join meetings and calendars with ease. The ‘Communicate’ page offers the ability to start meetings, access contacts for calls, and send 'Broadcast' messages.

Lastly, the ‘Your evening’ page can offer to play relaxing sounds such as rainfall or that of crickets to help users sleep. The displays can also use an upcoming ‘Sunrise Alarm’ feature that gradually brightens the display in the morning – to mimic the sunrise – and play different alarm tones based on users’ preference.

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