Google Nest-branded smart display devices are about to get a lot more useful, thanks to an update to the devices’ web browser.
That’s based on a recent report from 9to5Google, detailing the addition of a few new features. With the biggest of those being the addition of a full-fledged keyboard. The changes appear to be rolling out as part of the update to Cast firmware version 1.54 but could be part of a more server-side oriented update.
What’s new in this update for Nest smart display devices?
As noted above, this change primarily applies to the browser found on Nest smart display gadgets. So that should include Nest Hub — both new and older variants — and Nest Hub Max. As well as any other smart displays running Google’s firmware. But that doesn’t mean getting to the browser is intuitive. In fact, many users may not even know there is a browser.
Getting there and getting the keyboard to appear is, however, easy. Performing a voice search, just as is used with other device functions. And then by tapping the website link on results opens a mobile page in the devices’ browser. Once opened, the newly updated browser showcases all of the usual controls. So, there’s a UI in place for going back, forward, accessing the URL, and even an overflow menu. That’s used for refreshing the page, reporting problems, and sending pages to synced phones.
Users can also change font size via the ‘Aa’ button at the top-right-hand side. But the Refresh and Send to phone options appear to be entirely new. As does the keyboard that appears when a text-box is tapped.
The keyboard itself is similar to the Gboard keyboard found on Android or the on-screen keyboard shown on Chromebooks. And it works as expected across all associated features. Including support for system-determined light and dark modes.
When will you see this keyboard?
As of this writing, as noted above, this new browser update appears to be rolling out via an update to the Cast firmware. But it isn’t rolling out to everybody with an AI-powered smart display just yet. So this may be a test rollout or it may simply be a slow rollout. In the former case, it may not ever roll out widely or to every user. However, in the latter case, it should appear for more users over the next several weeks.