Google
Google connected speaker/thewirecutter.com

A new version of Google’s connected speaker with a touchscreen display was on Tuesday launched by the US tech giant.

It was designed to be a hub for smart home devices but without a camera for privacy reasons.

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The Google Home Hub, competing against Amazon’s Echo Show, was unveiled at a New York media event at which the tech giant also announced its upgraded Pixel 3 smartphone and a new tablet computer dubbed Pixel Slate.

The new speaker, to be sold for $149, is powered by Google’s smart digital assistant and is designed “to get the state of the entire home” by connecting to other smart devices, said Google vice president of product management Diya Jolly.

Jolly said the Home Hub, with a seven-inch screen, will allow users to access a “dashboard” that can be used to control any of several thousand internet-connected devices or appliances.

“You can turn down the temperature in the bedroom and turn up the music in your living room” using the screen, Jolly said.

But unlike the Echo Show and a new Portal chat device unveiled by Facebook, the Home Hub won’t have a camera, Jolly added.

“We consciously did not put a camera on the Hub so you can use it in private spaces like your bedroom,” she said.

The new device also can allow users to play music and videos from Google-owned YouTube.