Google on Tuesday debuted its Google Home Hub smart display device, a video-focused product positioned as a direct competitor to Amazon's Echo Show, and whose unveiling came just a day after Facebook rolled out its own video-enabled smart speaker.
The Home Hub has a seven-inch screen, and can access Google visual services such as YouTube, Google Photos, Google Maps and others. With Google Assistant built in to the device, the company claimed Home Hub can control more than 10,000 types of smart home products, such as Nest thermostats and Phillps Hue lights.
The $149 device is available for pre-order online from the Google store, and will go on sale at Best Buy, Target, Walmart and other retailers starting on Oct. 22.
Just a day after Facebook announced its own video-enabled smart display devices in a bid to show up the Echo Show, Google has added its own such technology to its growing Google Home family.
Whereas Facebook Portal offers a video calling/chat capability as its major selling point, Google Home Hub, like Amazon Show, is positioned around the potential to stream video content and access visual apps. That makes it more of a direct challenger to the Echo Show than the Portal is.
In a blog post, Google even touted the device's lack of a camera. That further distinguishes it from Facebook's device, which sports a camera that toggles around the room while video chatting. "We consciously decided to not include a camera on Google Home Hub, so you feel comfortable placing it in the private spaces of your home, like the bedroom," Google said.
This isn't just a war smart display/smart speaker devices. It's also a battle of content streaming brands – Google's YouTube vs. Amazon Prime Video. Devices may not be the dominant way consumers will access those content providers, but smart displays for the home give Google, Amazon, Facebook and others an additional opportunity beyond TVs, smartphones and computers to sell and rent their video services and related apps to consumers.
Amazon and Google now are fighting an intense competitive war on multiple levels — online/mobile shopping, shopping search, video dongles (Amazon Fire TV Stick and Google Chromecast), video services, tablets and now smart display/smart speaker devices.
The Google Home Hub is the latest step in Google's effort to match Amazon in smart display and smart speaker devices, and it comes during a year when Google is expected to grab much more market share from the initial market leader Amazon. The Google Home Hub could help it get closer to that goal.