Back in May, Google started rolling out a revamped homescreen for all Smart Displays. A small addition on the Photo Frame/Ambient mode now adds a simple home button to load Assistant cards.

Nest Hub owners today began encountering a new button on the Photo Frame. Located in the bottom-right, it’s a standard home icon — harkening back to early Android navigation — inside a dark translucent circle. When tapped, it loads Assistant cards with the usual sliding animation.

This action is similarly achieved by tapping anywhere on the Ambient Mode. At the moment, both ways to access cards coexist with each another.

One reason Google could have added this shortcut is to emphasize that Smart Displays do more than just passively show an image slideshow. It highlights Assistant’s card-based interface to show news, music, video suggestions, podcasts, recipes, and more.


Two users with the home button rolled out both had their Nest Hubs using a photo background. It’s relatively invisible against an image, but this floating button might look odd paired with a fullscreen clock.

It’s not widely rolled out, even on the 1.44 preview, after we checked several of our Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max devices for the home button. It will presumably roll out to Google’s Smart Displays first before appearing on third-party Android Things-based screens.

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: