Google Home Hub: What is Google’s answer to the MIA Echo Show?

When Amazon invented a new product category with the Echo, others were always likely to follow. It’s just plain bad luck that the second company out of the blocks wasn’t an easily crushable (or buyable) rival, but rather the moneybag geniuses two states down at Google.

So the Google Home followed the Amazon Echo, the Home Mini followed the Echo Dot, and now the Google Home Hub looks set to follow the Echo Show. It’s Google Assistant with a screen, basically.

Although given Amazon no longer seems to be pushing the Echo Show (it has been listed as unavailable on the website for some time), is Google chasing a market share that simply doesn’t exist?

Google Home Hub: Everything you need to know

Google Home Hub features: What does it do?

If you have a Google Home, you’ll already be aware of the talents Google Assistant has up its virtual sleeves. It’s a clever AI that can understand your words and translate them into actions. Wake it up with a cheery “Okay Google”, and the device starts listening, then you can say whatever you want.

You can ask it facts, to add things to your diary, to play a specific song, to hear the latest headlines or even to tell a rib-tickling joke.

Now imagine that potential with a screen, and you’re pretty much there. If you want to know the weather, Google Assistant will throw up some graphics to go with it. Ask to watch a video, and YouTube will appear and start playing.

The potential is definitely there: if you’re in the kitchen and need a recipe, you can bring up a cooking tutorial in seconds without getting flour all over your laptop. Handy!

READ NEXT: Google Home Mini vs Echo Dot We can be pretty sure about this basic functionality even though the product isn’t official because there are a couple of third-party Google Assistant-packed smart screens already available in the United States: the Lenovo Smart Display and the JBL Link View, which both go for £250 (or around GBP189).

The Google Home Hub reportedly pushes this further with deeper integration of other Google products.

You can bring up specific pictures from Google Photos (“Hey Google, show me my cat photos”) or see who’s at the front door with a connected Nest camera.

What sets this apart from the Amazon Echo Show? Two things, really. First of all, Google Assistant is widely regarded as a smarter virtual assistant than Amazon’s Alexa – although both are improving all the time.

More importantly, Google owns YouTube and has blocked it from appearing on the Echo Show in a battle with Amazon over its failure to sell Home and Chromecast products.

Advantage: Google.

Google Home Hub design: What does it look like?

Google Home Hub: What is Google’s answer to the MIA Echo Show?

We have a pretty good idea of what the Google Home Hub is going to look like, thanks to some very clear leaks from MySmartPrice. A 7in touchscreen will display information, sitting above a speaker that follows the same design aesthetic as the Google Home Max. This won’t be half as big, though, and apparently weighs in at just 480g.

While the pictures make it look like the tablet is detachable, we think that’s just a trick of the light.

Even if it is, we’re told that this isn’t running Android, and is purely an interface to show Google Assistant images – like when you use the virtual assistant on your phone.

READ NEXT: Best Echo – Which Amazon smartspeaker should I buy? One surprising omission from the leaked shots is any kind of camera technology. That means you won’t be making Google Duo calls (who is?) or using the device for fashion advice like the US-only Echo Look.

Whether this is for privacy or cost-cutting reasons, we’re not entirely sure.

Google Home Hub release UK price: How much will it cost?

On that note, Google is reportedly going all out to undercut the early Google Assistant-based smart speakers on the market. To that end, Android Authority reckons the Google Home Hub will cost just £149.

That’s GBP113, but after sales tax and the general trend of upwards rounding on UK prices, I imagine it’ll be closer to GBP149 if the original report is correct. The Google Home Max, for example, is GBP399 over here and £399 Stateside.

Google Home Hub release date: When’s it coming out?

The Google Home Hub release date is currently unknown.

Although we do know when it’ll likely be officially revealed: at Google’s event on 9 October.

But even if it is revealed as coming this year, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll see it in a timely fashion this side of the Atlantic.

The original Google Home and Google Home Max appeared six months and a year after the US launches, respectively.

Google Home Hub: Early verdict

With so little set in stone about the Google Home Hub, it’s hard to be too definitive, but it certainly seems like the company is onto a winner here.

The YouTube support could be a real knock-out blow to Amazon, assuming there is a market that wants its digital assistants to be seen AND heard.

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