Google began shipping the Google Home Hub, the Google Assistant with a display, to consumers last week. After having a few days to play with the Google Home Hub, I wanted to share what differences I found between the Google Home – voice only, and the Google Home Hub, with a digital display.
It appears the new speakable markup for news publishers is not supported on the Google Home Hub. Speakable markup lets webmasters add markup to their news stories where the Google Assistant can read back that text when someone is asking about a news story. The Google Home works well with this but the Google Home Hub seems to jump to YouTube news videos for all news related queries.
Here is how it acts on the Google Home:
Now if you compare the same query on the Google Home Hub, it brings up an unrelated video on YouTube:
Featured snippets seem to show up less on the Google Home Hub. The Google Home Hub seems to show less featured snippets when compared to the Google Home Hub. I was able to trigger a featured snippet for the question about [what are SEO snippets]:
You get the same result on the Google Home without a display, but obviously it doesn’t show you the text on a display.
But in many cases, the featured snippets you’d get on a Google Home won’t show on the Google Home Hub with the display. Google tries to give you more YouTube video answers instead.
For example, a query on how to change the oil in your car on a Google Home Hub shows you a YouTube video, but the Google Home (no display) speaks content from a website in a featured snippet format:
Knowledge panel answers
The Google Home Hub does show knowledge panel answers. On Google Home without a display, knowledge panel answers are spoken:
Google answers also work similarly on the Google Home Hub as it does on a Google Home without a display. The key differences is that on the Google Home Hub you see the answer and a relevant picture, and you can tap on the screen to drill in versus using your voice to ask more questions.
Here are some videos showing it off:
Why it matters
If the Google Home Hub displays take off and families put them in their kitchens and you put one on your desk in your office (they make great picture frames if you use Google Photos), then making sure you have featured snippet-worthy content is important as is having equivalent answers on YouTube.