Do You Need a Hub for Google Home or Google Mini?
There are so many smart home products on the market, and these devices often require their own smart hub in order to work smoothly. However, this raises questions about which devices need their own smart hub to function.
Many devices their own hubs exclusively, and others work natively with hubs from other manufacturers. This causes a lot of confusion and clutter in the average smart home.
One of the commonly used smart devices is Google’s voice assistant products Google Home and Google Mini. But do these devices require a smart hub to function?
The Google Home system does not require a smart home to function, it will work as intended on any home network as long as a stable internet connection is present.
This means that adding Google Home devices including the Mini does not require an additional smart hub to be connected to your router. Whilst Google Home/Mini doesn’t require a hub, in order for it to interface with other smart home products those products will still require their respective hubs. This is so that Google Home can issue commands to the smart devices despite the bulbs communicating in a different language. Note: not all smart products require a hub, this requirement is brand specific.
Similarly to Alexa and HomeKit, Google Home has created its own branding for companies to add to their products to show support. This is so customers can buy with confidence that the products they’re buying will work natively with Google Home, this branding is called ‘Works with the Google Assistant’.
Works with the Google Assistant
Searching for ‘Works with the Google Assistant’ online gives a plethora of supported hubs and products. Most leading brands offer Google Home support. Lots of brands are adding support for the Google Home ecosystem to their products all the time, so if a brand you’re looking at isn’t currently supported it might be in the future!
This constant increase in the numbers of products being added means that there is an incredible amount of smart home devices being supported, this is great for consumers and means that they can safely invest into the Google ecosystem. Google also has a section on their developer site specifying the requirements for brands to build in Google Assistant support.
Overall, these specifications are straightforward giving an easier bar for developers to meet. This means that lots of cheaper smart home products can add Google support without increasing their products price. Here are some examples of brands that already support Google Home:
Seeing this large range of products is extremely positive, and as a consumer, it means that they can integrate many of their existing smart products into the Google Home ecosystem. There is also a complete list of all available brands that are compatible with the Google Home ecosystem which can be found here.
Google Home and Google Mini both use Wi-Fi in order to communicate with their servers. This means that you’ll need to make sure your Google devices are within range of your Wi-Fi or Extender. If you place these devices near the edge of this range you can experience issues, especially when put near appliances such as microwaves that interrupt Wi-Fi signals.
Another feature that is extremely useful is the integration of Chromecast into the Google Home and Google Mini. This allows you to stream directly from other Google devices and services, allowing you to send audio from these devices, such as Google Chrome directly to the voice assistants and play it out of the speaker.
Google Home can also use Bluetooth to send audio. This means that it can be connected up to any Bluetooth enabled speakers, such as a sound bar or Hi-Fi. However, neither the Google Home or Google Mini support a 3.5mm connection, this means you can’t connect up to any speakers that don’t support Bluetooth.
Whilst the lack of a 3.5mm jack is annoying the Google Home and Google Mini both have a decent set of speakers, and if you’ve bought several Google Home/Mini’s you can mesh them together in groups in order to create multi-room audio groups. This provides perfectly synced audio to be played across your entire house—or any created subgroups, making them perfect for an instant party!
Here are some related questions that you may have around this topic! Hopefully, if you do still have questions on the topic, they’ll be answered below. But, if you do still have any questions or suggestions, drop a comment below!
Does Google Home Require a Subscription?
A subscription is not required to use Google Home’s services, you simply need to sign up for a free Google account. However, a subscription is required to access a Google Music subscription, which does include a 3-month free trial.
As well as this, you can also add any of your existing Pandora or Spotify (Free/Premium) account in order take advantage of any existing subscriptions you have, and stream natively to your Google devices.
Do Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit Require a Hub?
Neither Amazon Alexa or Apple HomeKit require a smart hub to function. Like Google Home, both Homekit and Alexa only require a stable Wi-Fi connection to function.
However, in order to access and use HomeKit remotely, it requires an Apple TV 3/4, or an iPad running at least iOS 10. This device must be turned on at all times and be left at home in order for remote access to work correctly.
For more information about the Amazon Alexa’s hub requirements check out our other article here.
Does Google Home Work Without the Internet?
Google Home does require a constant internet connection in order to function properly. This is due to the fact that Google Home sends your voice instructions to be processed externally by Google.
This means without the internet, your Google Home is unable to interpret your instructions and so can’t process the information. You can however still use the Bluetooth functionalities of your Google Home device.
It will also rely on internet to connect and control other compatible smart devices in your home. The constant internet connection allows them to be turned on and off by voice.