smart home

Google, Amazon want smart speakers to be hands-free phones

Google, Amazon want smart speakers to be hands-free phones

That smart speaker in your living room is just about to get smarter. Or maybe more invasive, for that matter. Google and Amazon, two companies that dabble in smartphones (or previously, for Amazon) are reportedly mulling over evolving their Amazon Echo and Google Home speakers from smart home hubs to part time hands-free smartphones. While it might seem like a small step, considering how both companies already have strong presences in the mobile market, it is going to be a big leap in terms of what the companies may or may not collect from users.

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Home Control turns Pixel’s Assistant into smart home voice remote

Home Control turns Pixel’s Assistant into smart home voice remote

As of this afternoon Google's latest set of smartphones, Pixel and Pixel XL, have access to Google's brand of Smart Home control. This is enabled with Google Assistant and Google Assistant's command of "Home Control" connectivity. Users will be able to connect to devices from five brands (so far), including Honeywell, Nest, Philips Hue, SmartThings, and WeMo.

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Logitech brings Amazon Alexa support to ZeroTouch car mounts

Logitech brings Amazon Alexa support to ZeroTouch car mounts

Amazon Alexa skills have launched to support a number of different devices and services, but today Logitech is bringing Alexa support to a product you may not expect: car mounts. Logitech's line of ZeroTouch dashboard and air vent mounts now support Alexa voice control, which greatly expands the number of hands-free options you have while you're driving your car.

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Vizio settles huge TV privacy case after spying on viewers [Updated]

Vizio settles huge TV privacy case after spying on viewers [Updated]

Vizio will pay $2.2m in penalties to settle a huge privacy lawsuit, that alleged its smart TVs tracked millions of viewers and then sold that personal data without permission. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in a joint-complaint filed with the New Jersey Attorney General, Vizio automatically tracked what owners of its connected TV sets were watching, despite not warning viewers that the monitoring was taking place. That information was then sold to advertisers and others for a profit.

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Electrolux acquires Anova as sous-vide leads smart home push

Electrolux acquires Anova as sous-vide leads smart home push

Sous-vide manufacturer Anova has been bought by Electrolux, with the home appliance behemoth hoping to get more involved in connected kitchen tech. The deal, announced today, will see Anova - and its 70-strong San Francisco, CA team - join Electrolux's ranks amid a push into smart home tech. It's costing the company $115m in cash, with the potential for a further $135m down the line depending on how Anova performs moving forward.

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Google Home Super Bowl ad aims for hearts, hits funny bones

Google Home Super Bowl ad aims for hearts, hits funny bones

Although in essence one of the biggest sports events in the US, the Super Bowl has also become an advertising circus. Companies go to great lengths, not to mention expenses, just to grab even just a minute of people's attention. In contrast, Google's TV spot for its Google Home doesn't employ gimmicks or popular actors, trying to pull at the heartstrings instead. Almost ironically, however, the commercial ended up triggering devices across the country, earning a few laughs instead.

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August Home, Wink work together to secure your smart home

August Home, Wink work together to secure your smart home

The irony about smart home products and the so called Internet of Things is that they aren’t really that smart about talking with one another. Each have their own loyalties and speak different languages that may or may not be understood by the smart devices inside your home. For cases like these, you’ll need a translator, a.k.a. a smart hub to be the go-between for these sometimes disparate devices. One such hub is Wink and, as of today, it has learned one new language. August Home, one of the increasingly popular names in the smart home security market, is partnering with Wink to make it easier to keep your now smarter home also more secure.

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Tim Cook teases new Apple iPhone, smart home, more

Tim Cook teases new Apple iPhone, smart home, more

An exciting new iPhone, advanced wearables, and a seamless smart home: Tim Cook was light on specifics but not short on the big picture as he described Apple's year to come. Speaking on his company's financial results call, in the afterglow of a record-breaking quarter which saw iPhone sales beat expectations and Mac turn around its decline, Cook name-checked a number of areas Apple will focus on moving forward. Even for struggling sectors like tablets, the CEO is buoyant.

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Google Assistant now speaks WeMo’s, Honeywell’s language

Google Assistant now speaks WeMo’s, Honeywell’s language

A smart assistant isn’t going to be very smart if it keeps to itself, especially when said assistant should be helping you around the house. That’s why in order for products like Google Home to be a viable smart home hub, it needs to be able to communicate with as many smart appliances and services as it can. Initially launching with only a few integrations, Google is now announcing its expansion with two more members of its growing roster. Now Google Home and Google Pixel owners can easily control their thermostat or even any appliance thanks to Honeywell an Belkin’s WeMo switches.

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Japan’s great toilet mystery is about to be solved

Japan’s great toilet mystery is about to be solved

The first time I visited Japan, I knew what I really wanted to try first. Not the sushi, though that turned out to be superb, or the bullet train. No, my boyish excitement was all about the magical robotic toilets. For a button-loving geek who has long thought that the bathroom should have more unexpected warm water surprises, Japan's clever bidets or "washlets" are the Holy Grail.

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Nest brings its smart home brand to more European markets

Nest brings its smart home brand to more European markets

Although it is no longer the only game in town, Nest has been one of the most popular pioneers of this new smart home trend. You rarely hear about it recently, though, except perhaps in not so flattering news. Proving that not only is it still alive but also growing exponentially, Nest has announced its expansion in Europe, entering the German, Austrian, Italian, and Spanish market and, claims Nest, doubling the number of European households where its smart products can be found in.

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TV news mentions Alexa ordering a dollhouse, Echo speakers begin doing the same

TV news mentions Alexa ordering a dollhouse, Echo speakers begin doing the same

In an age where more and more connected devices are getting "always listening" capabilities, our greatest concerns have been about privacy and what's actually recorded. Turns out, what we should've been fearing is our devices listening in and following commands from the wrong thing. This exact scenario became a reality this week when Amazon Echo owners all over San Diego found their speaker ordering dollhouses after hearing "Alexa ordered me a dollhouse" from the TV news.

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