Google Home Hub is finally available on the market and we dive into a deep discussion of whether or not Google has managed to bring a valuable product that will replace the Amazon Echo.
A little over one month ago Google finally unveiled their long-awaited smart home hub voice controller dubbed Google Home Hub. From the press conference itself and with the presented demo of Google Assistant hype around the product grew stronger. A little over a day ago, Google Home hub finally hit shelves and was made available for purchase online, but is the device as revolutionary as the hype suggests? Let’s dive right in.
The Bright Design of a Hobbyist Tool
Today, the smart home market is growing ever stronger with more and more people searching for automation when purchasing a house or an apartment. While the transition from the first adopters to widespread consumerism is still undergoing, the smart home industry should definitely receive a boost in the right direction with the introduction of the Google Home Hub. While the Amazon Echo was powerful enough to earn a spot in the home of many smart home enthusiasts, the truth is that it was never designed for a bigger market. The clunky speaker design, as if the device has come from the 2000s, didn’t do justice to the actual software that powered the Amazon Echo and while the directional microphones did do their job, they simply weren’t a feature that made the Echo stand out in the eyes of the end-consumer.
The Google Home Hub manages to tick every single box in the ballet for the next trend in the house appliance market. The device has a sleek design with interchangeable speaker grills that will let interior design enthusiast brighten up their homes, while the upper part of the craft where the brains lie manages to spark the intuitive feel of a stylish vase. The Home hub will never feel out of place on a living room table and will fit nicely on any shelf. However, design is not the only thing that makes the Home hub stand out.
The Brains and Brawn of the Google Home Hub
Behind the colorful speaker grill, you will find the brawn of the Google Home Hub. There lie the integrated high-excursion speakers of the device, which manage to deliver a rich hi-fi sound that let the hub serve as a great music speaker. The far-field microphones featured on the device also don’t seem to have any trouble picking up voice even from the other end of the room. We’ve managed to test the device in different mock-up scenarios with people talking among each other and the Google Home Hub didn’t seem to mind. Also when its name was called by the designated ‘owner’ the device responded even though there were multiple voices talking at the same time. We’ve also tested it with music and with a television that was turned on, but we didn’t experience any issues with its voice-control feature. It did try to pick up on our conversation when we were discussing how you have to say ‘Ok, Google’ to turn it on, but that’s on our part. In a normal situation, we don’t believe anyone will explicitly say ‘ok, google’ in a sentence with the right pitch to turn the device on, when they don’t need to do so.
Not There Yet
Of course, we can’t let our enthusiasm get in the way of discussing how viable this device really is on the market today. First and foremost, you do feel like you are having a conversation with Google Assistant. The language and commands are far more natural than what you might expect from such a device and the responses are human-like and pretty detailed. However, the fact is that there is still room for improvement. Throughout the day, there were situations in which we found ourselves scream at the device ‘Ok Google’ before it finally decided to answer and at times it didn’t manage to understand what we were trying to say and ask. Given, some of the testers aren’t native English speakers, but the device was unresponsive at times. Still, it did manage to pick up the commands in about 90-95% of the time, which is pretty fine for a device of such caliber.
Note that when it comes to commands, the Google Assistant is pretty limited. However, we believe that this will improve in the near future with the AI software constantly changing. Furthermore, in comparison with Amazon Alexa, the Assistant does have better capabilities.
All in all, the Google Home hub is definitely a device of a bigger caliber compared to the Amazon Echo. Design-wise, the Home is miles ahead and when it comes to software, the AI of Google is much more natural and intuitive. While there is still a long way to go in improvements, we believe that the Google Home hub is the right step towards a bigger and wider smart home market appeal.
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