Meet Google Home Hub: A 'camera-less' smart display
Yes, the new Pixel devices are here. They're pretty colorful and interesting, but what drew most of our attention at the recent #MadeByGoogle event is the company's new smart display - Google Home Hub. The device packs Google Assistant's capabilities with a 7-inch HD display that can fit right into your bedroom. But, there's a catch: you don't get a camera. Here's why.
No camera because Google "respects privacy"
Though most smart displays, be it Amazon Echo Show or Facebook's new Portal, pack a camera to enable video calling capabilities, Google has ditched the feature so that people feel free to place it anywhere in their home. Considering Google recently revealed a data exposure, the move is expected to be welcomed by privacy advocates. Plus, it's a great way to save cost.
Android Things for light, voice-activated control
Google Home Hub looks like a cross between Google Home Mini and a tablet-sized display. It runs Android Things OS, which gives a simple, but well-designed, UI for light touch use or voice-activated usage. There's no dedicated home screen for Home Hub. It displays Live Albums on being idle and lands directly on a set of actions when activated via touch or Google Assistant.
Control connected devices via Home View
One of the biggest highlights of Home Hub is its ability to control all your connected appliances via Google Home View. When swiped down from the main screen, Home View shows the current status of all smart appliances, be it a light bulb, a thermostat or the lock of your front door. Then, it can be used to turn off/adjust the devices, remotely.
Google Hub capabilities with visual content
On the whole, Home Hub does the job of Google Home speaker, but with visual aids. Whether you're playing music, checking recipes, or weather updates, this device shows visual content to enhance your experience and provides more insight into the data being explored. Plus, you can also use it to get the best of Google services - YouTube, Photos, Calendar, Search, Maps, and more.
Daily 'Routines' with Home Hub
Another feature of Home Hub is 'Routines'. On saying 'Hey Google, Good Morning,' Hub will give detailed information about your day ahead. It compiles data from apps like Calendar and Reminders to provide information and can recognize as many as six different voices. Plus, one can simply say, 'Hey Google, Goodnight,' to dim the lights, turn off the front door, or play soothing music.
Other interesting Home Hub features
Among other capabilities, Google Home Hub automatically adjusts its brightness according to room lighting and serves as a digital photo frame. It has this Live Albums feature, which displays your best Google Photos images in the form of a slideshow when the device sits idle. To sort the best photos from a bunch of blurry ones or duplicate shots, it uses machine learning capabilities.
Pricing and availability details
As of now, Google Home is not available in India, but for buyers in the US, it is up for pre-orders at $149 (Rs. 11,000 approx.) on Google Store. It comes in four color options - Sand, Aqua, Chalk, Charcoal - and will start shipping from October 22. Notably, Google is also offering 6 months of YouTube Premium with Home Hub at the moment.