Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max are receiving a pretty useful update with Cast firmware version 1.54 (gradual rollout). The big difference here is that it brings an updated browser experience complete with a keyboard so that you can manually browse the web when needed.
It should be mentioned that using your Nest Hubs by voice is, of course, still the primary means of navigating and obtaining information as that’s the purpose for which they were built. However, there are times when the Assistant simply doesn’t give you enough data on a particular topic and you end up having to break out your phone to fix the problem. There may be many instances when that’s not really possible, and the Hub is meant to be a convenience factor in your home, so having an onscreen keyboard resolves this.
Since we have yet to receive the update for ourselves, you’re seeing 9to5Google’s image above, but head over to their post if you want to see the others. The browser has been reworked to present the user with some useful tools. There’s a text size option featuring 100, 125, and 150% font zoom, and in the three dots ‘more’ menu, you’ve got an option to send the current webpage to your phone – nice!
The keyboard itself is slick and simple and has rounded button backgrounds on only the keys that perform actions. Each alphanumeric key is borderless though. This is something we’ve never really seen from Google, so I wonder if the same design will come to Android and Chrome OS in the future.
Anyway, what do you think? Have you ever found yourself in need of a keyboard on your Nest Hub or Nest Hub Max? I’ve personally found myself in the aforementioned type of situation plenty of times, and it’s caused me to be frustrated with Google’s use of the knowledge graph on these devices, but I honestly don’t believe I will remember that the keyboard is built-in when I most need to, simply because we haven’t had it before and it’s so infrequent a need.