What is Google Home Hub?



With Santa set to make his way down the chimney in just a few short weeks time, a hot-ticket item on many people’s wish list will be Google’s latest offering – Home Hub.

This new take on the smart speaker offers a screen that also doubles a digital photo frame for all your favourite photographs, and so far it’s proving the smart gadget hit of the year. If you’re considering adding Google Home Hub to your Christmas list this year, here’s what you need to know.

What is Home Hub?

Google Home Hub is basically Google’s newest incarnation of their perennially popular smart speaker. That means it connects to the internet and you can ask it to check the weather, tune into your favourite radio station and read you your Google calendar events for the day.

As an added bonus, it comes with a seven-inch screen that enables you to do things like call up recipes and then read them as you cook or have all your photographs displaying on a screen while the device sits idle.

As it’s voice activated courtesy of Google Assistant, you can say things like “Hey Google, find me a recipe for spaghetti bolognaise” and it will, helpfully offering a few options before displaying the recipe of your choosing on screen.

It also connects with other smart home devices and smart home hub, effectively allowing you to control your entire smart home by voice using the device.

Google states Home Hub works with thousands of the big-name partners and also notes it connects with all leading smart home hubs, so effectively you can control your entire home using just your voice.

One of the major drawcards of Google Home Hub over options like the new Facebook Portal is that it doesn’t have a camera, which alleviates a number of privacy concerns for many. It’s also a very affordable option in the competitive smart speaker realm.

Tech specs

The screen – Google Home Hub features a seven-inch touchscreen with Ambient EQ. That means it dims or brightens depending on the ambient light available.

Digital Trends notes: “There’s a lot to like about the Google Home Hub. We appreciate the focus on smart home control, the pull-down control panel, and the digital photo frame capabilities. We also appreciate the lack of a camera for those concerned about privacy.”

The microphone – As it’s primarily a smart speaker, Google Home Hub features two far-field microphones to hear your commands. These can pick up the sound of your voice from near or far, whether you’re across the room or right next to it and they can be dialed down or even muted if you’re concerned about the Home Hub listening in.

The speakers – Google says the Home Hub features a full range speaker, but while it might be suited to listening to the news headlines or catching some audio on the latest YouTube video your perusing, it’s not quite enough to replace a designated sound system.

Connectivity – Wi-Fi and BlueTooth 5 support

So what does it do?

Picture frame, video viewer – One of the primary features of Home Hub’s screen is its ability to display photographs as a digital frame, and it does so by connecting to your Google Photos account. It will also allow you to watch videos from YouTube and you can also cast videos to it from a number of services, however The Verge notes it is not compatible with Netflix.

Smart speaker – Home Hub is capable of all the things that Google’s original smart speaker Home could do, so it can read you the news headlines, give you your daily schedule and tell you the weather by simple voice command. It can also display these items on screen for you to see.

Smart home controller – The Verge explains Home Hub has seen Google update its smart home interface.

“In conjunction with the new Home app for iOS and Android, the Hub can display every room in your home and every smart device you have installed.

“You can drill down to specific lights or switches, no matter which room they’re in, or just toggle entire groups of lights at a time. You can also get a summary of the smart devices in your home when you swipe down from the top of the screen.”

Not a replacement for your smart home hub

Despite all this capability and the name Google “Home Hub”, it is not actually a replacement for your actual smart home hub. Instead, just like a smart speaker, you set up your own smart home infrastructure and hub, then connect it to your Google Assistant account so you can control it with the Google Home Hub.

Because it relies on Google Assistant as its voice activator, Google Home Hub is compatible with any smart home system which can work in conjunction with Google Assistant.

Price and availability

Home Hub was released in Australia on October 24 and is available at a host of retailers for around $219.

About Lera Smart Home Solutions

Lera Smart Home Solutions is a leading installer of smart home technology in the greater Sydney region. Our team boasts over 20 years’ experience in IT networking, programming and the electrical industry.

We have sourced the most reliable and cost efficient solutions from around the world to provide the very best in smart home solutions, and work with our clients to understand their needs.

You can learn more about transforming your house into a smart home here, or contact us directly for further advice.