The Google Home Hub is great for controlling smart homes, checking the weather and news, and setting alarms or timers. But, if you don’t have Ambient Display installed to show your photos, you’re missing out on one of the best features.
Google Home Hub is more than a voice assistant
You probably use voice commands quite often on your Google Home Hub, but this ignores the main feature that separates the Hub from other Google Home devices — the display. The Home Hub display can show the weather, play video news, offer recipe step-by-step instructions, control smart lights, and even play YouTube videos. But one of the best features of the Home Hub, external display mode, only appears when you’re not using the hub.
In the Home Hub, Google introduced the «Ambient EQ» light sensor, which allows the device to change its brightness and color temperature to best perform in its current environment. Essentially, the Hub should look good no matter what room you place it in. It’s hard to overstate how well this works, but you’ll almost swear you’re looking at a printed photo instead of a screen.
So, when you’re not using the Google Home Hub (which is probably most of the time), why not show off your photos? Remember those digital photo frames from a decade ago — only in this case the final product is not terrible.
If you have more than one Home Hub, you can even show the same set of photos without having to add one per device—your photos just need to be saved to Google Photos. You can even choose which people and pets show up on your Hub.
Upload your photos to Google Photos
To view your photos in your Home Hub, you need to upload them to Google Photos. However, if you just want to see beautiful art, you can jump straight to enabling Ambient Mode in the Google Home Hub.
If you haven’t already, start by uploading your photos to Google Photos. It’s possible that all the photos you’re interested in are already there, especially if you’re taking pictures on an Android phone. But if you haven’t, start by going to Google Photos and signing in with your Google account. Then upload any images you want to display on your hubs. You can also do this from the Google Photos app for iPhone and Android, but if you already have all of your photos on your computer, you can download them all at once from your browser.
Once you’ve uploaded your photos, click on the search bar at the top of the screen (to the left of the «Upload» button). You’ll see a series of faces — click on them and tag those faces to group your photos by people. This will be useful later if you want your Google Home Hub to display specific people (such as family members or pets).
Take the time to identify people in more than one picture, especially children who may have pictures at different stages of life. Initially, Google may not recognize a person at age four and then at age six as the same person, but if you tag each of them with the same name, it will offer to merge the images. Keep doing this and eventually Google will learn and accurately display children as they grow, even if you haven’t identified specific photos. Impressively, we’ve also seen Google recognize a person with a darkened face based on the clothes they wear. Google calls this feature Live Albums, and it’s not limited to the Google Home Hub. You can also share these albums with family and friends using the Google Photos app.
Unfortunately, face grouping is not available in the UK, Illinois, or Texas.