The battle of voice assistants with screens will be on. Just one day after Facebook launched its Alexa-powered video chat gadget Portal, as well as also a few weeks after Amazon announced its second-generation Echo Show, today, Google will be introducing Google Home Hub. Like its competition, the device will be always listening for a voice prompt (“Hey, Google”), however, unlike them, the item doesn’t have a camera.
the item’s a strategic move through Google given today’s environment. Some folks are worried about the privacy implications of putting an always-on, artificially intelligent voice assistant in their homes. Adding a camera heightens those concerns — so Google Home Hub appears to be a (slightly) less invasive option. the item also means the device will be much more about consuming information than creating the item, especially when the item comes to photography.
The $150 gadget looks like a propped up tablet using a 10-inch touchscreen. Like the original Google Home, the Home Hub can tell you about your day’s schedule, control your smart lights, as well as also offer the weather forecast — however the item will also show you, using a friendly interface on its screen.
The Google Home Hub’s always-listening microphone will be activated using a “Hey, Google” or “OK, Google” prompt. A switch on the back disables the microphone during sensitive conversations. as well as also the gadget includes capabilities which only an assistant using a display could do.
Among its strongest features will be how the item handles Google Photos.
Google told BuzzFeed News which the device was, in part, the company’s attempt to recreate the digital photo frame for the modern era. “There was lots of demand for digital photo frames,” Google’s Rajat Paharia told BuzzFeed News, however they had lots of problems. (Frankly, they all sucked!) On Home Hub, Google tried to make the digital photo frame easier to use, keep the item constantly fresh with completely new photos, as well as also make the screen as indistinguishable through a framed photo as possible — which meant taming the screen brightness.
Saying “show me photos of my family” turns the Home Hub into a digital photo frame with rotating images of friends or family members. To set the item up, you select the faces you want to appear. Using Photos’ facial recognition, the item then pulls fresh images of those people through your recent pictures as well as also camera roll into a completely new kind of album in Google Photos called Live Albums, where photos of people you’ve tagged automatically show up. You can also share these albums to ensure which, say, a grandparent could have completely new pictures of the grandkids show up automatically on their Home Hub.
the item can also show you highlights through your recent photos — as well as also while the item’s partially based on the favorites you pick, the item’s also notable due to what the item excludes. the item won’t show photos of things like receipts, documents, parking meters, hotel doors, or photos which are out of focus, for example. Google also says the item removes any “sensitive content” through highlights to ensure which there are “no surprises within the home.” BuzzFeed News confirmed which This kind of meant the item should not, for example, put your nudes on display within the living room.
There are a few different interesting tricks the item pulls off for photo display. For example, if a photo will be in portrait mode, rather than putting black bars on either side, the Home Hub will place the item side by side with another related photo — such as another of the same person, one taken within the same general time frame, or within the same location. as well as also thanks to the microphone, the item will also let you ask questions about what you’re seeing, or pull up specific photos. You could say “who will be in This kind of picture,” for example, “show all my pictures of John at the beach,” or “show me all the pictures I took in Thailand.”
Finally, Google did a lot of work to make the display adjust automatically based on the ambient light to solve the bright glowing screen issue. A feature called Ambient EQ automatically adjusts both the screen brightness as well as also coloring temperature in an attempt to make the photos on the display look like an actual framed photo. “the item’s trying to mimic real-world physics on a digital display,” said Paharia.
The Home Hub also works as a multimedia station.
You can start watching HBO through your Home Hub within the kitchen as well as also then beam the item to a Chromecast-enabled TV within the living room. If you have a Nest video doorbell, the Home Hub will show a live feed of front-door footage. When the item plays you the news, the item can display Reuters TV’s daily digest or videos through different providers. Ask for the traffic to work, as well as also the Home Hub will show a map overview of where the congestion will be.
Because Google owns YouTube, the Google Home Hub will be, of course, deeply integrated with the user-uploaded video platform. A Google product manager demonstrated how “show me how to dice onions” prompted the Home Hub to stream “How to Dice Onions Like a BOSS CHEF” through the YouTube channel Chef as well as also Steward automatically.
However, even within the highly controlled confines of a press demo, YouTube, which has faced several issues including the propagation of exploitative videos as well as also conspiracy theories, could not be contained. The query “Show me how to tie a tie” inadvertently surfaced a video titled “The Family-Friendly Noose Song,” with over 2.4 million views on the platform.