Google’s Home lineup continues to expand, with the company unveiling its newest effort, a smart display that doesn’t feature a built-in camera.
Google officially announced the Home Hub, a smart speaker with a large touchscreen. Google is aiming at voice controls, of course, and has designed the software to show you what you want to see, after you request something with your voice. That includes revamped experiences for Google Photos, Calendar, and other apps.
It comes in four colors and the Home Hub does not feature a camera (which is a bold choice). The Home Hub automatically changes its display brightness, and with Ambient EQ it can fine tune the brightness and color of the display based on the brightness of the room it is placed in. Home Hub will also automatically switch off its display.
Home Hub features speech recognition technology, just like the other Google Home products. It will automatically recognize who is talking, and offer up information pertaining to that person when available, including calendar data and more.
“Hey Google, good morning,” and the Home Hub will tell the time, show the weather, and even show the best route to get to work when you need to drive. It will also show a list of to-do things, like to pick up groceries. Google is also building the Home Hub as a device for the kitchen, allowing folks to use Google Assistant with their voice to find specific recipes, set multiple timers, and more.
YouTube has been optimized for the Home Hub, including how-to videos. You can ask Google Assistant to show a music video and more as well. Google is including six months of YouTube Music subscription, as long as you pick up the new Home Hub by the end of December of this year.
Filters makes sure that there is only “family-friendly content”, with owners able to set age gates for content that can be displayed on the Home Hub’s display.
Home Hub can also keep tabs on your smart devices in the home, including door locks, lights, and more. That means the device can be used to check in on those devices with what Google calls “Home View”. Swipe down from the top of the display to see the state of the other smart devices in the home, and it can also be used with voice controls. That means you can control the music in one room and the temperature in another.
Home Hub can show you who’s at the front door when the doorbell is activated. You can use Home Hub to unlock the door, too, if you want to let them in. Home Hub can also control Vizio TVs, Philips Hue lightbulbs, and other smart devices as well.
The Home Hub is the “world’s best photo frame” when it isn’t being used. Deep integration with Google Photos makes this possible, making it possible to select a personal album or one that was shared with you. A Live Album is a new feature, allowing folks to choose specific people or places, and the album will show that content. And it will update automatically when new photos are added with that content in it. Machine Learning will only show “the best photos”, so underexposed photos, duplicate photos, and blurry photos will not be shown while in this mode.
It costs $149, and goes up for preorder today. It launches October 22.