Google Home Hub: Google reveals rival to Amazon Echo Show

The Google Home Hub has been announced at Google’s October event, alongside the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, and the newly announced Google Pixel Slate.

Google’s Home Hub is the latest in the company’s line of Google Home devices but this is the first one to come with a screen. This opens the door to a whole new slew of features and functions that previous Google Home devices couldn’t do, including viewing YouTube videos and displaying photos.

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Announced the day after Facebook Portal, and going toe-to-toe with the Amazon Echo Show, the Google Home Hub is certainly entering a competitive market for smart home assistants. But it seems that Google has enough up its sleeve to make Home Hub a success.

Read on to find out everything we know about the Google Home Hub.

Google Home Hub: Everything we know

Google Home Hub: Price and release date

The Google Home Hub is available for preorder right now on the Google Store. Devices will ship to customers from 22 October.

It’s priced at £139 and comes with 6 months of YouTube Premium, Google’s premium music and video subscription service — which costs £11.99 per month, if you forget to cancel after the free trial.

Google Home Hub: Design

The Google Home Hub was, apparently, designed for “the way you live today” so that it fits into a home’s aesthetic. This means it’s all soft circles and curves so it can blend into the house. It  ships in four colours — chalk, charcoal, aqua (cyan) and sand (pink). The colour dictates only the base of the hub, as the display is always white.

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Google’s Home Hub has a 7in display, with far-field microphones and speakers but there’s no camera here. That’s a deliberate design decision to ensure there are very few privacy issues. Home Hub is also designed to be usable from a distance, so the microphone and display size are supposed to be usable for people on the other side of a room.

Home Hub’s screen also features something Google calls “Ambient EQ”. This recognises the brightness of a room and fine tunes the screen’s brightness to match. This means in light rooms the screen increases in brightness and at night it’ll dim and change temperature before automatically turning off.

Google Home Hub: Features

Despite being the first Google Home device to have a screen, the Home Hub is mainly controlled by voice. Google Search, Maps, Calendar, Photos and other functions can be accessed hands-free, like in many other smart assistants. With a screen, the Home Hub can pull up relevant information, recipes or videos without you needing to touch anything.

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One of the important features of the Google Home Hub is that it recognises distinct voices, and can pull up different information for whoever is speaking. Information that is personalised includes traffic information, calendar appointments and daily reminders.

Google Home Hub: Home View

The main feature of the Google Home Hub, however, is its Home View mode. Google has tightly integrated Home Hub with its Nest range of devices. This allows Home Hub to link together every aspect of your house.

Using the Home Hub, or a smartphone app, lets you survey the state of your home — this lets you know if the doors are unlocked, any lights are on, or if your kid is still watching Netflix when they should be in bed. For this to work, however, you’ll need other Nest or Google products to monitor.

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When not in use, the Home Hub blends into your home by turning into a photo frame, displaying personal or shared pictures, or Live Albums.

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Live Albums are created via Google’s machine learning tools that put together all pictures relevant to a topic you choose, whether it’s a particular person’s face or snaps of your pet dog. It can filter out blurry or underexposed, irrelevant, or duplicate pictures, and will automatically add new pictures you take that fit the criteria.

In addition, you can set Downtime Mode for set periods of time, during which the Home Hub won’t respond to voice requests. It will, however, set off alarms and reminders that are supposed to go off in the time.

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