Published: Thu, October 11, 2018
Technology | By Lionel Gonzales

Google's Home Hub is more like a Chromecast than an Android tablet

Google's Home Hub is more like a Chromecast than an Android tablet

It's not. It's just a Google-branded smart display.

All previous "smart displays" with Google Assistant are almost identical under the hood.

Following an app update that will rollout to Android and iOS users "this week" you will be able to control any smart device that has been "paired" to your Home app/Assistant account via controls in the Google Home App.

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The new Home tab is what you'll see upon open the app, and here you've got quick controls for toggling your smart lights on/off, playing music on any speakers or audio groups, broadcasting a message, adding an item to your home, or diving into the settings.

You can do lots of other things too. In that respect, it's more closely related to the Chromecast and Google Home than other smart displays. It's not the first of its kind, as Lenovo already has the Smart Display, which has an identical feature set. Notably, the support page also suggests that users can now ask Google Home to read news about a topic, for example "Listen to news about North Korea", or "Play the latest on Donald Trump". When configured, the Hub knows which room you're in and provides information on temperature and lighting as well. The Google Home app has been updated to control multiple devices more easily and remotely, and access Google Assistant in-app as well.

What I don't believe they'll get is the new Live Albums which merges Google's smart search with Google Photos. JBL and Lenovo's attempts at this have been solid, but now it's Google's turn. The idea is to remove what Google calls the "billboard effect" where your eyes are drawn to the brightness of the display in a dim room. This includes that notch on the Pixel 3 XL, which many were hoping is not real. there was even a rumor that Google is hiding a special Pixel 3 Ultra up its sleeve - a phone with a huge display and no notch or chin to speak of. Did I want to see a Google hub with Zigbee and/or Z-Wave radios?

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