It used to be common knowledge that the most valuable piece of real estate for a tech company was the front pocket or purse. That’s no longer the case. Phones have hit a point where each new iteration offers only a marginal improvement on the last. Better cameras and nicer screens are noteworthy, sure — but compared to what’s going on in the world of smart home tech? It’s a stark contrast. Take the newly announced Google Home Hub for instance.
According to Diya Jolly, Vice President of product management for the San Francisco tech giant, the new Home Hub constitutes a total re-imagination of Google for the home. If one were to just look at the device by itself (essentially a speaker and screen combo not all-too-different from Amazon’s products), this claim might seem dubious. But the Home Hub does a lot more than just look pretty.
For the Home Hub, Google re-designed their most used services in order to make them easier to use with voice commands. Google’s Maps, calendar, Youtube and photos are all now designed to be made more ‘glanceable’ and responsive to auditory queries. The most significant inclusion here is YouTube. Not only will the service provide a wealth of audio to stream while having company over, but it’ll make it easier to pull up tutorials while cooking, or trying to get some help on how exactly to put that piece of furniture together that you ordered.
The most striking thing about this device, however, is something that it doesn’t feature — a camera. Google is hoping that this, combined with something they are calling ‘Ambient EQ’ (a collection of hardware and software that adjusts the brightness and color of the display to match the ambient light in your room) will make this new device something you are willing to trust enough to place on your bedside table. Given that the price of the Home Hub is just $149, a whole lot of people might decide to do just that.
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