Since its inception, Google has kept the Nest Hub fairly minimal in its functionality, choosing to focus on glanceable information as opposed to full-on application experiences. Well, it’s changed a lot over the past year, and it’s beginning to take on a life of its own in the Google ecosystem of hardware and software. Now that it’s running Fuchsia OS, has become a central hub for families to learn and enjoy content together, and more, the Nest Hub is truly carving out its place in our homes.
A Redditor spotted by Android Police uploaded a short clip of them showing off a mysterious, new pill shape icon at the bottom of their Nest Hub. When swiped upward, it revealed a full-fledged application launcher! As you can see from the gif above, it first reveals a half-sized launcher with only a handful of icons. Selecting the ‘See all’ button fills the entire screen with every app that’s installed on the device, including weather, Youtube TV, and more.
This new launcher is still clearly in its early testing phases as it seems extremely difficult to trigger. While attempting to swipe up, for example, the UI continuously attempts to swipe the wallpaper away to reveal the full, normal Nest Hub UI. What’s weird is that you normally don’t even have access to the apps on these devices – only hot words that trigger experiences.
I’m really not sure why Google is deciding to give users a much more robust navigation experience at this stage in the device’s development, but I do know that the app launcher gives me straight-up Pixel phone and Chrome OS vibes. At this time, there’s no sign of side-loading APKs though. If Fuchsia is a long-play to get all of the company’s operating systems to look and act identically, then this could very well be one of the first steps in Google’s fledgling OS beginning its journey toward eventual unification.