Tech

Google Home Hub - Google Assistant With A Display

Google Home Hub - Google Assistant With A Display

Now, Google has one. Furthermore, Google Home users are getting the ability to increase or decrease playback speed of news and podcasts, a feature that was only available for audiobooks previously. Not only would this enhance the experience that customers already had using Google Homes, but it would be a direct competitor to Amazon's Echo Show and Spot.

One other pretty significant difference between the Home Hub and other Smart Displays is what's found under the hood. 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. Where you'd expect to see a camera, you instead get an array of sensors that help the Home Hub constantly adjust the screen to feel natural in the room and light where it finds itself.

This is a major update to the usability of the Home app that up until now had little operational use aside from managing your Assistant account and paired devices. We already know that Google's offering features a swipe-down gesture that brings up a "home view" control panel that now isn't found on the third-party devices. Essentially, Google is providing an aggregation of your smart home devices in a simple, pleasing arrangement so you can adjust the environment easily with a touch. You can use Play Music though.

There's also better integration with Google's Nest products.

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Other than that, there's really just not a lot to say about the Home Hub.

And suggested responses will appear on the display: Tap one and it will be announced to your visitor, so they hear, "Sorry, we're not interested" when a salesperson is trying to hawk their wares.

No more will I be the only user who controls the thermostat, doorbell, locks, etc.

Let's take a step back and talk about Smart Displays. You can play YouTube videos as well, although it doesn't yet support playing content you've purchased on Google Play Movies & TV. As more pictures of those people are added, Google will dynamically update the album on the Home Hub.

Diya Jolly, Google's VP of product management, told Ars Technica that the Home Hub uses software based on the Google Cast platform - not Android Things OS. The idea is to remove what Google calls the "billboard effect" where your eyes are drawn to the brightness of the display in a dim room. Instead of handing over the firmware to Lenovo, JBL, and LG and letting them modify the operating system, Google handles all firmware and feature updates, that way every Smart Display's user experience is identical.


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