Google Home Hub only launched last month, but it is already getting another dose of updates with brand new features. Google wants to make sure that Home Hub is useful and helpful during the busy holiday season. So today it announced a slew of new features. One of those features is Broadcast. This is a feature that is popular with Google Assistant already, and now it’s coming to Home Hub. It’s a pretty simple feature, really. You can send a message from your phone to your smart speakers and smart displays at home. So say you are out grocery shopping for Thanksgiving dinner, and you need to know if there is enough butter at home, you can Broadcast a message to your smart speakers and displays at home and have someone answer you. It would work the same as calling someone at home, but this way, they can’t say they didn’t hear it.
To make the holidays a bit more fun, Google is adding the ability to set alarms with popular animated characters on Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers. These alarms will have music, jokes, facts, words of encouragement and much more. Google has included characters from the Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, LEGO Friends, LEGO Life, and LEGO City to name a few. Google is also bringing more content to the Read Along feature that it debuted earlier this month. And this includes content like Ara the Star Engineer. And now, if you don’t have the book with you, can just ask the Google Assistant to tell you a story. Google is planning to add over 25 new family-friendly stories by Nickeloden in the coming weeks.
Now, the holidays aren’t all about cooking and reading books, it’s also about watching movies and TV shows as a family. With Google Home Hub, Google is making it easier to turn your living room into a smart entertainment center. With the Home View dashboard on smart displays like the Google Home Hub, you will be able to control popular media and entertainment devices from the smart display. This will work on TV’s from Panasonic, Roku, LG and set-top boxes from Telstra as well as the Logitech Harmony smart remote. So you won’t need to look for the remote, just use the Google Home Hub.
Finally, rounding out today’s new features for Google Home Hub is recipes. Well not so much new, but making it easier than ever to find a recipe to use. Smart Displays make it super easy to follow recipes in the kitchen, particularly because it has that display that makes it easier to follow along. Now, with smart displays including the Google Home Hub, Lenovo Smart Display and JBL Link View, you can discover more recipes even easier. There is also a Recommended Recipes card on the home screen. This is going to bring recipes front-and-center, so you’ll have the recipe you want without even needing to ask for it. Finding recipes on smart displays is one of the most common use-cases for these smart displays, and during the holiday season, it can really come in handy.
Background: The Google Home Hub is pretty new, launching last month, but it is already receiving a ton of new features from Google, which is good to see. And this batch of features are available for all smart displays – including the JBL Link View and Lenovo Smart Display, which is good to see as well. Smart Displays are still a rather niche product for a lot of people, for a number of reasons. This is partly because many don’t see a real use for it, as your smartphone can do everything that the smart display can do. But the main reason for getting a smart display is so that you don’t need to touch your phone. For instance, say you are following a recipe, while making a Sweet Potato Pie, instead of needing to get your phone dirty, you can use a smart display to flip to the next step, using your voice. Not to mention the fact that you can be watching – or listening – to videos and music while you are cooking dinner, even if it’s not Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Impact: Google is giving people all types of reasons to pick up a Google Home Hub, and for $149, it’s hard not to grab one. Though if you don’t mind waiting, there are some pretty big deals on the Google Home Hub for Black Friday – next Friday. The Google Home Hub will be $99, and many are offering some sort of gift card with it as well, making this an even sweeter deal. The Google Home Hub was already great for watching YouTube, playing music, following recipes and such. But with these new features, Google has made it an even better smart display, and definitely worth the extra cash to pick up. Whether that’s for the holiday season, or just general usage of the device, for things like watching YouTube while you are cooking and such. Google is making smart displays much more compelling than Amazon has.
All of the features that were announced today by Google for the Google Home Hub, are now available. Some of the features for Read Along will be rolling out in the coming weeks – including adding new books to the collection. These features work on all three smart displays as well. The Google Home Hub, Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View. Each of these smart displays are unique, the Google Home Hub is a first-party smart display and it is also the cheapest (and smallest), while the JBL Link View has the best speakers and the Lenovo Smart Display has a rather interesting look with a fantastic display. They can all be very helpful in the kitchen as well as in the living room. Looking to switch to the next episode on Netflix? The Home View dashboard on these smart displays can do that for you, without you needing to find the remote, which is definitely helpful.