Google is reportedly testing a new UI on the Nest Hub Max that adds a traditional app launcher on the home screen to access and manage apps.
The new app launcher was first spotted by Reddit user linardni last week, who received the feature as part of the Preview Program (via 9to5Google). The new interface adds a row of apps that can be accessed by swiping up from the bottom of the display. The row displays six app icons by default, while tapping on the “See all” button opens up the app drawer with big, round icons arranged in a 3×6 grid. Apps are shown alphabetically, and you can swipe from the left to go back to the home screen. Swiping left from the clock face still brings up suggestions cards, so it appears the app drawer may co-exist alongside the cards interface instead of replacing it.
The Redditor recorded a small clip showcasing the new app launcher running on his Nest Hub Max:
The new UI is clearly not ready for a wider rollout yet; as you can clearly see in the video, there’s a very long delay between opening apps, and the swipe to bottom gesture is also quite buggy. The performance could be better once the smart display receives the Fuchsia OS update, which is currently only available on the first-gen Nest Hub.
The app launcher experiment has only rolled out to a handful of users who have enrolled their Nest Hub Max in the Preview Program, an opt-in channel that lets eligible Chromecast and Nest users try out new features and experiments before they roll out to everyone. If you’re interested in trying out the new app launcher, you can try enrolling your Nest Hub Max in the Preview Program. To do so, open the Google Home app on your Android or iOS device and select the Nest Hub Max from the device list. From there, navigate to Settings > Device information > Preview Program and tap the “Join Program” button.
As previously noted, the app drawer hasn’t widely rolled out, and joining the Preview Program doesn’t guarantee that you’ll actually receive it — though it does increase your odds.