Google’s Assistant Smart Displays have always had a built-in web browser that you could rather easily access. That rudimentary Nest Hub browser now has a keyboard and a handful of other features to advance the experience.

Like before, you can access the web by performing a voice search for “Who is Larry Page?” or “What’s the Higgs boson?” At the bottom right of those fullscreen result pages is “Wikipedia.” Tapping opens the mobile page in a built-in browser.

There’s an app bar that starts with back/forwards controls and then the page name, as well as URL. The top-right corner features an ‘Aa’ button to increase font size (100%, 125%, or 150%). There’s also an overflow button where you can Report, Refresh, and Send to phone. Previously, that menu opened a fullscreen page but it’s now inline, while the latter two actions are entirely new.

Tapping on a text field, like Wikipedia’s search bar, will bring up a keyboard that takes after Gboard. It’s unlikely this is actually the Gboard version of Android, but more similar to how Chrome OS has a similar-looking keyboard.

Actions (delete, caps lock, etc.) and the space bar feature key borders, but letters do not. Meanwhile, there’s a chevron at the bottom-right to hide the keyboard, which happens to conform to light and dark themes.

We’re seeing this keyboard on Cast firmware version 1.54, which is not yet widely rolled out. This keyboard and updated browser is still a secondary experience, and not the primary way you interact with the Nest Hub. That said, it’s even more useful and might be a sign of things to come.

More about Nest Hub:

Thanks Joel

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Abner Li

Editor-in-chief. Interested in the minutiae of Google and Alphabet. Tips/talk: abner@9to5g.com