Google updates Home Hub, Assistant to take on Alexa for the holidays

From CNET: The Google Home Hub will now help you decide what to cook. It can save your favorite recipes. You can respond to broadcast messages and tell your significant other to pick up a missing ingredient. You can speed up the playback of your favorite podcast so it finishes by the time you're done in the kitchen, and then Assistant can help entertain your kids with stories and Easter eggs when it's time for bed.

On Wednesday, Google announced several new features for Home Hub and Google Home, both of which have the Google Assistant baked in. I had a chance to see the new functionality in action at Google's smart home demo space set up in San Francisco. Google also showed off a few new features to power-up Assistant on your phone. The updates will roll out before the end of the year and all are aimed at helping you manage the hectic holiday season.

Google Assistant has a knack for walking you through recipes with clear, step-by-step directions, a feature which works best on smart displays like the Home Hub. Search for something to eat, pick a recipe and you'll get an overview of all of the steps and ingredients. Start cooking and the screen will show you a list of steps while Assistant reads them off in order, but you can skip around if you need to.

You can also multitask. Watch videos, add something to your shopping list, turn off your lights, or ask Assistant to do any trick from its various feature options. When you're ready, you can just say "Resume recipe" and it'll hop right back to where you left off. The feature is wonderful, and it's part of the reason I recommend the Home Hub as well as third-party smart displays with Assistant such as the Lenovo Smart Display.

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