Home Automation

Google commits to supporting Nest Secure, more Nest Detect coming

Google commits to supporting Nest Secure, more Nest Detect coming

Google is notorious for suddenly discontinuing apps and services, even those in wide use. That practice actually applies even to hardware products, much to the disappointment of many customers. The casualty in the latter segment is its Nest-branded smart home security system which suddenly became no longer available last week. To assure customers it isn't pulling the plug, Google now publicly commits to continue supporting the Nest Secure system. It isn't, however, saying anything about updates and new features.

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Google Nest Hub may use proximity to save you from saying “Hey Google”

Google Nest Hub may use proximity to save you from saying “Hey Google”

Smart, AI-powered, virtual assistants are undoubtedly helpful, at least to those who have actually found uses for them. For better or worse, however, all of them have to be manually "woken up", usually by a trigger phrase. It's a bit of a hassle, especially when you're already standing in front of your smart speaker or smart display. It seems that Google is playing around with a feature that lets a Nest Hub detect your presence and automatically wake up Google Assistant, a convenience that may come at the expense of some privacy.

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Philips Hue recalls outdoor power supplies due to safety risks

Philips Hue recalls outdoor power supplies due to safety risks

There has been a rise in outdoor smart security cameras and outdoor smart lights but not all of these products are created equal. Most will naturally promise weather-proofing, considering they're always exposed outside, though you have to carefully read the fine print to be sure. You'd expect that big brands already have that down to a "T" but even these big boys accidentally slip up. That's the unfortunate case for Philip's outdoor Hue lights whose power supplies apparently have a literally shocking defect.

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Xiaomi UWB “indoor GPS” lets phones control smart appliances directly

Xiaomi UWB “indoor GPS” lets phones control smart appliances directly

A lot of connected home appliances these days can be controlled from a smartphone but almost all of those go about it in an indirect fashion. Smartphones communicated with those devices via a local Wi-Fi network or sometimes even via an Internet service, producing some latency and making these devices dependent on a network connection. Xiaomi, however, has demonstrated an alternate solution, where phones can act more like traditional remote controls that use Ultra-Wideband technology instead of infrared light.

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Wyze Thermostat preorders go live just in time for winter

Wyze Thermostat preorders go live just in time for winter

The latest connected home product from Wyze, the Wyze Thermostat, has arrived. Consumers can now preorder the device, which is currently listed as shipping in December. As with other devices previously introduced and released by Wyze, the new Thermostat has a budget-friendly price, making it an inexpensive way to start automating one's home. The Wyze Thermostat joins the company's security cameras, headphones, and more.

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Coffee maker ransomware is both amusing and frightening [UPDATE]

Coffee maker ransomware is both amusing and frightening [UPDATE]

The IoT or Internet of Things explosion brought about a new generation of devices and appliances that could what we previously only saw in science fiction. Almost all of their abilities, however, relied on connecting to the Internet or at least to your home network. Security experts have warned about the risks of such connected devices but while owners themselves may take some precaution, all of that gets thrown out the window if the manufacturer itself doesn't even meet the basic security requirements.

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Amazon Alexa gains new abilities and more privacy controls

Amazon Alexa gains new abilities and more privacy controls

Amazon announced quite a handful of new products today, including some from its Ring subsidiary, but it isn't just bringing new hardware to its customers. The e-commerce giant also announced upgrades to the hands-free experience that powers many of its devices, giving the AI-powered Alexa more skills and more brains. Going beyond that, however, Amazon is also trying to address one of Alexa's most unpopular flaw: its privacy.

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Amazon Alexa Routines can now be shared with anyone

Amazon Alexa Routines can now be shared with anyone

Smart assistants and smart speakers have introduced new ways of making our busy lives less frantic but, until recently, they have been more about single-action commands. Routines, scenes, and other similar features have started rolling out to truly offer some automation, bundling related actions together for a specific theme or time. These are definitely useful but only if you actually know how to create them in the first place. Amazon is helping remove the guesswork by making it dead easy to share Alexa Routines around.

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iRobot Roomba i3+ is a cheaper robot vacuum with an auto-emptying bin

iRobot Roomba i3+ is a cheaper robot vacuum with an auto-emptying bin

iRobot's smart robot vacuums are getting a cheaper baby brother, with the Roomba i3+ promising intelligent navigation and the ability to empty its own bin. Joining the existing Roomba i7+ and s9+ models, the i3+ uses the company's Genius Home Intelligence platform for easier feature updates down the line.

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Yale’s new Water Sensor wants to nip water damage in the bud

Yale’s new Water Sensor wants to nip water damage in the bud

Yale today announced a new accessory geared toward helping homeowners detect leaks and stop water damage before it becomes a major problem. Dubbed simply the Yale Sync Smart Water Sensor, this new device can be placed near potential problem areas to monitor for leaks. It's a straightforward and simple device, but it could wind up being very useful when you consider how much trouble water can cause.

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Amazon Alexa Print lets you easily print out your shopping list

Amazon Alexa Print lets you easily print out your shopping list

Despite living in a mostly digital age, there always comes a time when we end up having to print something. It isn't always a smooth and uneventful experience, especially when you discover only then and there that you don't have enough ink left in the first place. If would definitely be grand if you could simply command your printer to do that for you. If you have an Amazon Echo, you now can, well, sort of.

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AT&T customers can now use Amazon Echo speakers as phones

AT&T customers can now use Amazon Echo speakers as phones

When the first smart speakers, led by the Amazon Echo, appeared, there was some confusion at what they'd really be good for. These devices eventually became commonplace inside more modern homes but they initially lacked one feature people presumed they would have: making and taking phone calls. That also eventually arrived in one form or another but now Amazon and AT&T are making it easier by linking subscribers' accounts with their Echo speakers for convenient hands-free calls.

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