Hands-On With Google Home Hub: Google’s First Smart Display

Alfred Osborne
October 11, 2018

So when the Home Hub was announced yesterday, it seemed weird that Google would give it the "Home" branding, but the display wasn't expected to be too different than the Smart Displays built by third-parties.

We will hopefully know the answers to these questions before Google ships the Home Hub near the end of this month.

The Google Home Hub connects to your home network and other devices by 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz) Wi-Fi. We already know that Google's offering features a swipe-down gesture that brings up a "home view" control panel that now isn't found on the third-party devices. All they need is to have the new Google Home app installed and you can all live the convenient, smart home lifestyle. However, the Home Hub is something entirely different. You see, Google wants this to be a product you place on your nightstand - or some place like that - and still feed comfortable.

Another thing you'll notice about the Pixel 3 launcher is that it uses adaptive icons on all apps for a more consistent look. As more pictures of those people are added, Google will dynamically update the album on the Home Hub. Photos displayed on the Google Home Hub should blend in the room - thanks to no glowing screen.

Additionally, Google has brought a tighter integration with Google Photos into the mix. "It also generates quick actions for important features across your home with immediate access to key experiences like turning on and off smart lights, viewing your cameras, and broadcasting messages to your other Google Home devices, Google notes on its blog". A particular strength of the Google Home Hub is its YouTube handling, especially since Google has purposely hobbled the Amazon Echo Show's handing of this app.

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GoogleHow much is Google Home Hub?

At the MadeByGoogle event in NYC on Tuesday, I spent some time with the new hub. Both phones come in three colors: Just Black, Clearly White and Not Pink (yes, really). It only costs $149, which is about what you'd expect.

GoogleWhen will Google Home Hub be available? It'll be in stores from 22 October in the U.S. and UK.

One thing to note is that buying from Verizon and picking up a device in store should be possible on October 18, but may result in receiving a device with a locked bootloader as well as unwanted Verizon apps pre-loaded onto the phone.

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