Google Home Hub - Google Assistant With A Display

Isaac Cain
October 11, 2018

While Google's Home line of smart speakers has been outstanding ever since the first Google Home, the companion Home app has never been fantastic. Now, Google has one. Interestingly, another report suggests that the Home Hub may also serve as a development platform for Fuchsia OS, a new software that will replace Android. I was told that at this time, the focus is simply YouTube Premium.

The Nest Hello Doorbell integration will let your smart display show a feed from the camera when someone is at your door, with options to send quick responses back. Lastly, there's a microphone near the bottom-center that allows you to quickly prompt the Google Assistant from any page. That's a plus from a privacy perspective, although Lenovo and JBL do provide a physical camera cover. The Lenovo Smart Display is $199 and $249 for 8- and 10-inch models, so it's appropriate for the size.

So what does the Google Home Hub bring to the table compared to its hardware partner devices?

It comes in four colors: Charcoal, Aqua, Chalk, and Sand.

We've seen similar Google Assistant devices from Lenovo and JBL, but Google is trying to offer up something slightly more streamline with the Home Hub. The new Filters feature, which will appear in the Google Home app, seems to be a trickle over from Family Link for managing how kids can use smart displays, though it's a bit short on detail.

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Google has just announced a "major" OTA update for all smart displays.

Paired with Downtime, which blocks use entirely between set hours, you can better control when and how your smart displays are used. So things like receipts or screenshots that were uploaded to your Google Photos won't be mixed in with portraits or landscapes, and blurry or duplicate photos won't make the cut. And unlike other smart displays, Home Hub doesn't even come with a camera, so video calls are impossible.

What I don't believe they'll get is the new Live Albums which merges Google's smart search with Google Photos.

As for the Google Home app update, I got it last night and can report that it does function as a smart home hub. Rick Osterloh, the Senior Vice President of Google products, claimed that it will facilitate screen-locking, as well as many other aspects of security, on the Pixel 3 and 3 XL during their launch.

Google Home Hub is a Google Home-branded speaker with a 7-inch LCD display that floats on a speaker base. You see, Google wants this to be a product you place on your nightstand - or some place like that - and still feed comfortable. Sure. But those desires are more for the early smart home adopters and they are still a niche audience.

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