If you’re excited to even more deeply ingrain a company that didn’t disclose a massive data breach into your life, boy have we got a new product for you!
At Google’s hardware event on Tuesday, Rick Osterloh, Google’s SVP of hardware, unveiled the company’s new smart home offering: the Google Home Hub.
With deeper integration with smart home products, all sorts of A.I. optimizations, and a nifty, visually pleasing display and design, the Hub expands the capabilities of Google Home in a way that seems to just make sense. If the Home Hub works as advertised, paired with Google’s superior A.I., it could be the truly integrated home assistant that the advent of smart home innovations seemed to promise, but which has remained practically elusive.
“For life at home, we designed a smart display so you can hear and see the info you need, and manage your connected home from a single screen,” Osterloh said.
The Google Home Hub is available for pre-order starting Tuesday, for $149. That’s $80 cheaper than Amazon’s Echo Show, in case anyone’s keeping track.
Diya Jolly, Google’s VP of product management, clued the audience in on how the Home Hub actually works, and how it’s materially different from (and more impressive than) a simple smart speaker.
One key is the Hub’s Home View. On the Hub screen, you can get an overview of every room and entrance in your house, and manage the controls. Thanks to Google-owned Nest thermostats and Hello Video Doorbells, that means no more checking whether you locked the doors — even no more getting up to let people into the house. That capability also comes with Google’s redesigned Home app, so you can check on the status of your house from anywhere.
The Home Hub also has voice cues that let you get a lot of information all at once. For example, saying “Good morning” to your Home Hub can prompt the Google Assistant to tell you about weather, traffic, and what’s on your calendar, as well as reminders.
Google also took a lot of care in the design of the Home Hub, of both the physical device, and the screen. It comes in four pastel-ish colors with the “rounded edges” Google is so excited about. But the screen is also light sensitive, so it automatically adjusts the display using a technology called Ambient EQ.
Google designed the Hub “to be the world’s best photo frame.” When not in use, the Hub will display photos from a new product: Live Albums. With Live Albums, you can select the people who you want to appear in images. And then Google Photos will generate an album of the people you selected — while weeding out any bad quality or irrelevant photos.
The Home Hub also promises deeper integration with YouTube. For recipes or exercise videos, you can stream an optimized video experience for Home Hub. Google is also offering a six month free trial of YouTube premium, which gives access to YouTube’s music library.
With all of these details, to make the most of Home Hub, you have to go all in on both Google hardware and software; utilizing Home Hub to the fullest extent of its abilities means uploading your pics to Google Photos, investing in Nest products, using Google calendar and reminders, even switching over to YouTube for your music. But if you are willing to stan hard for Google, the intelligence of Google’s A.I. paired with the seamlessness of its new Home offerings makes the Home Hub a covetable offering in the smart home space.
That is, if you’re interested in getting cozy with robots in the first place.