Google has unveiled the Google Home Hub, its first smart speaker powered by Google Smart Display. The product features a seven-inch touchscreen and a speaker base covered by colorful fabrics, the same design elements founded on Google’s other speakers.
Just like other third-party smart speakers powered by Google Smart Display, the device presents visual information besides answering a user’s query with voice. For instance, it will show one week of weather forecast if users ask about the weather today; and it will present the driving route when users ask about directions.
Google also introduced new features to the Google Home Hub for smart home applications. The new Home View dashboard, which can be activated by sliding down from the top of the screen, lets users see and manage all connected devices at home like smart locks, security cameras and thermostats.
The Downtime mode constrain the functionalities available to only alarms and other key actions at night or other pre-set times of the day, in order to prevent children from spending too much time using the device.
The Google Home Hub doesn’t have a front-camera embedded due to privacy concerns, and as such, doesn’t support video calls. Amazon’s second-gen Echo Show allows Echo users to video-chat with other Echo device owners or via Skype.
For home entertainment purpose, the Google Home Hub allows users to watch YouTube and other video services. When the device is not used, it will turn into a digital picture frame with content from user’s Google Photos.
The Google Home Hub will become available in the U.S., UK and Australia on October 22 for US$149.
A Revamped Google Home App
Besides bringing the Home View dashboard to the new Google Home Hub, Google has also redesigned its Google Home app.
The main screen contains a list of user’s smart home devices. Users can adjust every connected devices compatible with Google directly in the app. For instance, they can change the Nest thermostat temperature without opening the Nest app, or dim the light without opening the Hue app.
Another important update is the “home members” feature, which allows people outside the local network to control connected devices directly from the Google Home app. For instance, users can help manage their parents’ home if they have trouble setting up their smart home.
At the hardware event today, Google announced that Google Assistant is now working with 10,000 smart devices across 1,000 brands.