How to use your Google Home Hub as a digital photo frame.

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 set to display your photos, you’re missing out on one of its best features.

Google Home Hub is more than a voice assistant

You probably use voice commands quite a bit with your Google Home Hub, but that’s neglecting the main feature that separates the Hub from other Google Home devices: the screen. The Home Hub display can show you the weather, play news with video, offer step-by-step instructions for recipes, control your smart lights, and even play YouTube videos. But one of the Home Hub’s best features, Ambient Display mode, only appears when you’re not using the hub.

How to use your Google Home Hub as a digital photo frame

With the Home Hub, Google introduced the “Ambient EQ” light sensor, and this allows the device to change its brightness and color temperature to better work with the current environment. Essentially, the Hub should look good no matter which room you put it in. It’s hard to overstate how well it works, but you’ll almost swear you’re looking at a printed photo instead of a screen.

So when you’re not working with the Google Home Hub (which is probably most of the time), why not show off your photos? Think back to those digital photo frames from a decade ago; only, in this case, the end product isn’t terrible.

How to use your Google Home Hub as a digital photo frame

If you have more than one Home Hub, you can even have them display the same set of photos without adding them one at a time on each device; your photos should only be stored in Google Photos. You can even choose which people and pets will appear on your Hub.

Upload your images to Google Photos

To view your photos on your Home Hub, you’ll need to upload them to Google Photos. However, if you just want to see beautiful art, you can skip right to turning on ambient mode on your Google Home Hub.

How to use your Google Home Hub as a digital photo frame

If you haven’t already, you’ll want to start by uploading your images to . All the photos you care about may already be there, especially if you use an Android phone to take your photos. But if you haven’t, start by going to and signing in with your Google account. Then upload the images you want to display on your Hubs. You can do this from Google Photos. and also, but if you already have all your photos on one computer, you can upload everything at once from the 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 row of faces – click on them and tag those faces to group your photos by people. This is useful later if you want your Google Home Hub to display specific people (like family members or pets).

How to use your Google Home Hub as a digital photo frame

Take the time to identify the people in more than one image, especially children who may have photos at different stages of life. Initially, Google may not recognize a person at four and then six as the same person, but if you tag each 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 when you haven’t identified specific photos. Surprisingly, we have also seen Google recognize a person with an obscured face based on the clothes they are wearing. 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 pooling does not.

Activate ambient mode on your Google Home Hub

You’ll set ambient mode on each Google Home Hub you own. First, open the Google Home app on your phone, scroll to your Google Home device, and tap on its icon just above the words “Play Music.” In this example, we are using a Hub called Kitchen Display.

How to use your Google Home Hub as a digital photo frame

If you have a Customize atmosphere option in the lower left corner, tap on it. Otherwise, tap the more options menu (which looks like three vertical dots) and then “Ambient mode settings.”

On the next screen, you’ll choose what to show when your Google Home Hub is in ambient mode: Google Photos, Art Gallery, Full Screen Clock, or Experimental. Google Photos will pull photos from your Google Photos albums; Art Gallery will display images chosen by Google, such as fine art, NASA-generated images, city photos, etc. The full screen clock is exactly what it sounds like; you will always see a clock face. Experimental will pull images from your linked Facebook or Flickr accounts (since this is experimental, that may change).

In this example, we will choose Google Photos to view our personal photos.

How to use your Google Home Hub as a digital photo frame

If you have existing albums, you can choose them. Alternatively, you can try Recent Highlights, which will rely on Google’s algorithms to display interesting photos that you’ve taken recently. Unfortunately, the AI ​​can learn things, but it doesn’t understand them, so this can lead to weird results, like a collage of carpet samples being rendered.

For this example, we’ll tap “Select Family & Friends” and choose four people to highlight. Once you’ve chosen the people you want to feature, Google creates a new album called Family & Friends, which you can use in other Google Home Hubs. Touch the back arrow in the upper left corner to exit this screen once you have made your choice.

Unfortunately, since it is based on Face Grouping, the Family & Friends album function is .

Now that we’re back in the Ambient Mode settings, scroll down to find more setting options. Here you can turn time, time, and personal photo data on and off. The first two, Weather and Time, are self-explanatory. Personal photo data adds marks to the screen that explain which album the photo came from and who it belongs to (if you’re sharing your Google photos).

How to use your Google Home Hub as a digital photo frame

If you set “Personal photo retention” to “Only live albums”, Google will try to remove any blurry or poorly exposed photos. If you leave the setting at “All Albums”, all the photos, good and bad, will be displayed. Below those options, you will find the speed of the slideshow. We recommend setting this up in a minute, but choose what feels best to you. Select your preferred options and tap the back arrow in the top left corner.

Clever! You will need to repeat these steps for any other Google Home Hubs you have. If you want to use the same people list you chose above, choose the Friends & Family album instead of the “Select Friends & Family” option. Take a look at your handiwork and marvel at how great your images look on this screen. When you turn off the lights in the room, your Home Hub will automatically dim and switch to display the time.