Nearly half a year ago, Google’s mysterious Fuchsia OS began rolling out to first-generation Nest Hub devices as the primary operating system, replacing Cast OS. At the time, it really didn’t mean much when it appeared on firmware version 1.52.260996, and to this day, it still doesn’t – at least, not yet.
For now, the replaced OS looks and feels virtually identical to the original, but it does provide the company with a way to move forward with its development in new, unforeseen ways. While we’ll still have to wait to see what comes of Fuchsia in the future, it’s evident that it’s meant for something big.
Regardless of what anyone says, I still believe that it’s going to be the one-size-fits-all-OS for all of Google’s hardware. That means that Chrome OS, Android, Wear OS, Nest Hubs, Android Auto and more will potentially one day all utilize the same software to incorporate a unified look and feel across the board. We’re already seeing this quite a bit with Android and Chrome OS as Google is merging their visual and functional styles – something I believe will make it much easier to simply “swap” users over to Fuchsia one day with an update.
According to a new comment on the Fuchsia Gerrit (which was first discovered by 9to5Google and later confirmed to them by Google), internal testing for Fuchsia OS on Nest Hub Max has begun. Codenamed “Sherlock”, the update is now in the “dogfood testing” stage at the company. This means that Googlers are using the Hub Max with the new system in order to see if it’s ready to move forward.
According to 9to5Google, the code change comment indicates that “F6” – a recent milestone update for Fuchsia – had a bug that would prevent Max devices running it from reporting issues over the holiday break, and one Googler was trying to rectify that before taking leave for Christmas. This alone brought to attention that it was running on the Nest Hub Max, and that’s a cool find.
However, none of this means anything for when it ought to be running out of the box for users after they purchase the Max from store shelves or online. Fuchsia has been in development for a long time, and Google even opened it up to the public (accepting public contributions) around this time last year, but it’s still likely a long way off before it’s ready to replace Chrome OS or Android. Cast OS has always been a lot less complicated and more utilitarian for simple tasks, so it’s a safer bet to test Fuchsia in place of it to start.