Google’s Pixel Tablet may soon get a couple of Nest Hub Max features to improve how the tablet works when it’s acting like a smart display.
9to5Google uncovered development work on two features dubbed ‘Look and Talk’ and ‘Quick Gestures’ in a teardown of the Google app on the tablet. App teardowns, for those unfamiliar, involve decompiling the APK file and examining the code. Sometimes, this process can reveal details about in-development features, but it’s important to keep in mind that features might be cancelled or delayed, or final versions might be different from what’s seen in the code. As such, it’s important to look at these details with a bit of skepticism.
Anyway, 9to5 found details in Google app version 14.43 about ‘Look and Talk,’ which would activate when the Pixel Tablet is in ‘Hub Mode’ (when it’s placed on the dock or a USB-C cable is plugged into the tablet). ‘Look and Talk’ was first introduced at Google I/O 2022 and allowed people to look at the Nest Hub Max to trigger Google Assistant without speaking the ‘Hey Google’ wake command.
One of the details uncovered was a description of the feature, which reads:
“When your tablet is in Hub Mode, anyone in your home, including children, can look at it from up to 5 feet away to talk to Assistant without having to say [Hey Google].”
Other details include that the tablet will use “camera sensing” and “analyzes video of you or others in your home” to figure out when someone wants to activate Assistant. However, other details say that the video is processed on-device and not sent to Google and that the feature can be turned off in Hub Mode settings. There’s also text warning that ‘Look and Talk’ could result in accidental activations.
Alongside work on ‘Look and Talk,’ 9to5 found details indicating Google was working on bringing Quick Gestures to the Pixel Tablet. On the Nest Hub Max, Quick Gestures let people control the device without saying anything, for example, by holding up their hand to pause playing media. 9to5 found text in the Google app about the feature:
“You can get glanceable information relevant to you, use Quick Gestures to control music and allow anyone in your home to look and skip [“Hey Google”].”
The addition of these features would mark one of the most significant updates to the Pixel Tablet’s Hub Mode since the device came out in June 2023. Hopefully, ‘Look and Talk’ and Quick Gestures make using the Pixel Tablet as a smart display a smoother overall experience. However, I also find it notable that as a long-time Nest Hub Max user, I forgot that both of these features existed and didn’t even miss them when I made the jump to the Pixel Tablet.