Google Home Hub is a mix of a Google Home smart speaker and a screen. It can give visual answers to your questions, help you control your smart home devices and more. The device features a 7-inch screen and a speaker that sounds better than the Google Home Mini but not quite as rich as the Google Home Max. There is no camera, so you can feel comfortable placing the device in any room of your home.
When it’s not actively in use, the Home Hub displays an ever-changing array of your Google Photos. A new feature called Live Album automatically picks out the best photos of the people you want to see, for instance, your children. You can even share this album with a friend or family member who has a Hub so they basically get an automatically updated feed of your best photos on their screen.
At launch, the Hub has support for music from Google as well as Spotify, the ability to view video from Nest cameras, and YouTube and YouTube TV. At this time there isn’t support for Netflix or the installation of Android Apps from Google Play Store, but this could of course change in the future as features are added.
As the name implies, the Hub also serves as a mission control for all of your smart home devices. You can swipe down from the top of the screen to see all of your connected home devices and the status of them. Think Google Home app but a dedicated place for it in your home.
When compared to the Amazon Echo Show, Google Home Hub is $80 cheaper but doesn’t have a camera on board. Additionally, Home Hub is more limited in what it can do in terms of apps. Amazon’s Show supports a wider range of streaming apps including Hulu and Prime Video. Additionally,
it integrates with Ring products so if you have a lot of them around your home Show might be a better choice. However, one big service that’s not on Show is YouTube. This means you can’t ask it to see a quick video on how to chop an onion or the millions of other videos available there. Just something to consider.
The Google Home Hub launches October 22, 2018 for $149 in Chalk, Charcoal, Aqua and Sand. Personally, I’m looking forward to having the Hub on my kitchen counter. I would also like to have one as by bedside alarm clock, but the lack of USB port in the back for charging my phone is a big omission.
NOW LISTEN: Here’s an interview with Google Home Product Manager Ashton Udall with more details on the Google Home Hub and why Google decided to leave a camera out. As heard on the Rich on Tech Podcast.