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We’ve been promised smart screens with Google Assistant since CES in January. Other companies have given it a go, but Google officially entered the fray earlier this month with a smart screen of their own. And with an apparent dedication to privacy, the Google Home Hub lacks a camera… but it can still do Duo video calls? How does that work?

Unlike competing products like the Amazon Echo Spot and Echo Show, the Google Home Hub does not have a camera. The point is that even though it has always-listening microphones (that you can mute with a physical switch in the back), it’s supposed to respect your privacy.

And at least give you some peace of mind that Google doesn’t have a 24/7 video feed of your bedroom.

That’s good or bad, depending your perspective. What makes for a bit of an odd choice, though, is that the Google Home Hub is apparently capable of making video calls through Google Duo… but it can’t complete straight up, audio-only calls.

The way it works, according to Google, is like like. You can make a Duo call with the Google Home Hub, but the person on the other end will only see your profile picture. At the same time, you’ll be able to see their video feed on your Home Hub screen.


But here’s where things get even weirder. Apparently you can’t complete a Duo call between Home Hub units. At least one of you needs to be using a device with a camera, like a smartphone or tablet, in order to connect. I imagine they should “fix” this with a future software update, yeah? Because this current configuration just doesn’t make sense to me.

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