Google Home Hub, the company’s Assistant Smart Display, was launched at the #MadeForGoogle event in New York on Tuesday. With the launch of Home Mini and Home Max in 2017, Google had to expand its smart speaker portfolio. In 2018, the tech giant’s lineup gets its first Assistant Smart Display with the Home Hub. The highlight of the device its 7-inch display that lets users not just “hear” a response, but also “see” a response. Google’s key features like Maps, Search, and Photos have all been redesigned for the Hub. Notably, the Home Hub comes in four different colour variants – Chalk, Charcoal, Aqua, and Sand – and is said to have been designed “for families.”
The price of the Google Home Hub has been set at $149 (roughly Rs. 11,000). The pre-orders will go live today and will start selling on October 22 at Best Buy, Target, Walmart, and other retailers in the US.
During the Pixel event, Diya Jolly, Vice President, Product Management at Google, said that the number of queries to Google Home has gone up 400 percent in the past year. The Google Home Hub, Jolly said, has been designed to make it more accessible to users. She said, “We obsessed about what a display designed specifically for your home should do. We spent countless hours on the design of the Hub.” She added that Google consciously did not put a camera on the Hub to make it comfortable to use in private spaces like the bedroom. The size of the device is said to be big enough to be seen across the room and small enough to fit in any surface.
The Google Home Hub comes with a new feature called Ambient EQ, which is a combination of a dedicated sensor and imaging algorithm that fine-tunes colour and brightness of the display. It complements bright White tones during the day and accentuates Orange tinges in the evening. Interestingly, the display automatically turns off at night.
Said to be a “communal device,” the Google Home Hub can recognise who is speaking to it and provide a personalised experience for every user in a home. Google claims that 85 percent of Google Home users using voice match already. Google Home Hub automatically recognises users and provide personalised results. By simply saying, “Hey Google, good morning”, you get a personalised, visual overview of your family’s activities from Google Calendar, your commute from Google Maps, your latest reminders, the weather forecast, and more. Additionally, Mark Spates – Product Lead, Smart Speakers, said, “Google Home Hub is the best display made for the kitchen.” It has access to a library of recipes. It also comes with a ‘clean out my fridge’ button, tapping on which will tell the users what to do based on the things present in the refrigerator.
The YouTube experience in the Home Hub has been optimised to provide users with a number of how-to videos, using voice. Hub comes with six months of YouTube Premium as well. The Hub has a “downtime mode” that prevents it from interacting with anyone, except alarms. The device also has parental settings to block explicit lyrics in music.
The Google Home Hub comes with a Home View feature, which is a dashboard for every smart gadget in your home. It can be connected with over 200 million devices, made up of over 10,000 smart devices across over 1,000 brands. Diya said, “Home View was designed to be super easy and intuitive to use.” You can just swipe down the dashboard to reveal your home view to, for instance, “Dim your Phillps Hue lights, adjust the temperature on your Nest thermostat, turn up the volume on the TV with Vizio, lock the front door with August, monitor smart cameras, and see the front door with the Nest Hello video doorbell.” Additionally, the dashboard will be a part of the Google Home app. Interestingly, Hub can also show you Nest doorbell video feeds.
The Home Hub also acts as a photo frame as it comes with an integration with Google Photos. Google claims that almost 1.2 billion photos are uploaded every day on Photos. With a new feature called Live Albums, Google will automatically create albums with every photo of particular people. Also, Google Photos and Hub use machine learning to filter out bad images that are blurry or over-exposed.