Wednesday, 24 October, 2018

Google details new Assistant features coming soon to Pixel phones

Google Home Hub - Google Assistant With A Display Google Home Hub vs. Amazon Echo Show: Smart Display Showdown
Katie Ramirez | 12 October, 2018, 05:21

For $149, this may be a compelling purchase for those who were considering similar, but more expensive, products such as the Smart Displays from Lenovo and JBL. You obviously can't transmit video without a camera in the Home Hub, but you can however still see video from users making a video call.

Yesterday at its Made By Google event in Manhattan, Google announced the Home Hub, a new Assistant-powered smart device.

Voice assistants have come a long way over the last few years, from an often-confused voice in your smartphone to touch-screen smart displays that can connect you to friends and information in a snap.

Easily one of the most exciting products revealed in NY, the latest addition to the Google Home family, the Home Hub, is available to pre-order right now from the Google Store and Currys PC World for the modest price of 139 pounds.

At the time, I thought it a bit of an odd proposition.

The Google Home Hub is one of the niftiest little gadgets set to hit the market, but a criticism of the Google branded Smart Display is that without a camera it's a little lacking next to its cousins from Lenovo and JBL. It comes in Chalk, Charcoal, Aqua, or Sand colorways.

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There's also no camera on the Google Home Hub, unlike the other smart displays. So we will see.

Instead of hiding the controls deep in the Google Home app, a simple swipe down from the top of the screen brings up a dashboard with all your smart devices in a quick-access fashion, allowing you to control your connected stuff easily. Of course, you can still use voice controls as well.

There's also better integration with Google's Nest products. Another welcome change from a year ago is that Google's flagship is no longer exclusive to just one telco; both Singtel and StarHub will have the phones available in stores come Nov 1.

It is a simple feature with huge benefits, and those types of software upgrades really mark the current state of Google. You'll also get Pixel USB-C earbuds free with each unit, as well as six months of YouTube Music Premium and free unlimited high-res photo storage on Google Photos until 2022. As more pictures of those people are added, Google will dynamically update the album on the Home Hub. 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.

Aside from slight software or feature differences between the Google Hub and now available smart displays, the real star is the single, cohesive interface Google is bringing to the smart home here.

It's doubtful for the Pixel 3 to repeat that kind of performance, especially given that Google didn't say anything about DxOMark.

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