Smart home

Ring end-to-end encryption goes global: How to turn it on

Ring end-to-end encryption goes global: How to turn it on

Ring is switching on end-to-end encryption for video worldwide, adding extra security to its camera and video doorbell streams. The expansion follows Ring's technical preview of encryption that launched earlier in the year, though which at the time was only available to users in the US.

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Nest Hello Quiet Time and Quick Responses are coming to Google Home

Nest Hello Quiet Time and Quick Responses are coming to Google Home

Google's acquisition of Nest and eventual migration of brands and accounts unsurprisingly met with some pushback. In addition to privacy concerns, there were some issues when moving from Nest's own platform to Google's. One pain point, in particular, revolved around features in the Nest app that haven't made their way yet to Google Home. Fortunately, it seems that Google is indeed working on resolving that problem, and an upcoming version of the Google Home app could see the arrival of two old Nest Hello features to the new app.

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HomePod audio OS 15 beta reportedly causes overheating and damage

HomePod audio OS 15 beta reportedly causes overheating and damage

Beta software is labeled "beta" for a reason. They are often distributed only to people willing to test software for bugs and are willing to take the risk using potentially unstable software. Of course, some beta versions are in a better state than others but that doesn't remove the chance of a bad release wreaking havoc on devices. That is the unfortunate reality that owners of some HomePods are now facing after what they claim to be a rather buggy HomePod Software 15 beta caused smart speakers to overheat and, in some cases, fry the logic board beyond repair.

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Google Nest products to get five years of security updates

Google Nest products to get five years of security updates

Smart home products are getting more common and more accessible, but, as recent events prove, they are far from being the completely reliable and trustworthy parts of our lives that ads and videos would have us believe. Part of that relies on companies and agents on the remote side acting more responsibly in their ability to control these devices from afar. Another part of that formula, however, also depends on manufacturers ensuring the security and privacy of their products and customers, something that Google's Nest is promising to do better.

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This unified smart home standard will matter

This unified smart home standard will matter

You can count on your smart home setup but all the pomp and show falls flat when a doorbell isn’t on the same ecosystem as the lights and you need to employ different methods to control each of them. This scenario is subject to change with the introduction of Matter - a new smart home protocol that will let smart devices from different manufacturers work seamlessly together as if they were built in harmony under the same smart platform.

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IoT has a long ways to go to be trustworthy

IoT has a long ways to go to be trustworthy

The smart homes and cities of the future are often painted as places full of transparent touch screens, voice-controlled assistants, and robots that can often predict what we need before we even ask. Unfortunately, what these advertisements and marketing materials don't always show is who is really in control of these future worlds.

Sure, most of these videos or images show regular people like you and me as the main actors, but it is really the companies that run the services and networks behind the scenes that are really in control, and it's going to take a long while before we can and should completely trust these systems with our safety and our lives.

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Some utility companies in Texas are turning smart thermostats up amid summer heat

Some utility companies in Texas are turning smart thermostats up amid summer heat

Many people have switched to smart thermostats, such as the one that Nest makes, to help save money on utility bills by having better control over the temperature in their homes. Smart thermostats allow homeowners to remotely control the temperature inside their home to cool it down when they're ready to return home and allow it to be warmer when no one is there. Recently, some Thermostat users in Texas who were part of several programs ran by electric companies have lost control of their own home temperature with the electric company remotely raising the temperature in homes.

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Wyze Lock Google Home integration is now rolling out

Wyze Lock Google Home integration is now rolling out

There has been an explosion in smart home appliances in the past years but the most common kind has been smart lighting and smart locks. The latter has sometimes proven to be a bit controversial, considering their security implications. Wyze's smart lock, however, has been criticized for a different flaw, one that prevented it from connecting to Google's nearly ubiquitous smart home platform. That has finally changed, however, and the Wyze Lock now finally speaks Google Home's language so that you can lock or unlock your door with the power of your voice.

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Level Lock offers doors a more affordable secret smart lock upgrade

Level Lock offers doors a more affordable secret smart lock upgrade

Super-surreptious smart lock company Level has revealed its third product, and the new Level Lock continues the tradition of hiding its connected security features. Unlike other smart locks, which typically have outsized control panels, battery enclosures, or other mechanisms, Level's system manages to squeeze all that into something which looks at first glance like a regular, mechanical lock.

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IKEA Tradfri smart lamp with 108kb RAM can sort of run Doom

IKEA Tradfri smart lamp with 108kb RAM can sort of run Doom

It has long been both an insider joke as well as a challenge that the game Doom, at least the original one by id Software from 1993, can run on anything that qualifies as a computer. Of course, the latter can be defined as anything that has a microprocessor, which includes most non-trivial consumer electronics these days. Smart appliances are even better targets for these attempts, and that is indeed what a couple of hackers attempted in making IKEA's Tradfri smart lighting run the game, though with a bit of necessary cheating.

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Apple HomePod is no longer available, but owners need not worry

Apple HomePod is no longer available, but owners need not worry

Devices come and go, no matter how popular or how loved. Sometimes older devices are replaced by newer models, but there are also times when they are completely retired instead. The latter is the case for the first Apple smart speaker, the much-delayed HomePod that the company announced would be discontinued. Supplies of the full-sized speaker have finally gone out of stock but, while it can no longer be purchased from direct channels, nothing really changes for those who already own one, at least not yet.

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SmartThings app gets an overhaul to better tame the smart home

SmartThings app gets an overhaul to better tame the smart home

Samsung has launched its latest generation of SmartThings, with the smart home and connected devices platform promising to make automations easier and actions more stable. The revamped SmartThings gets a new interface, too, following Samsung's release of a version of the app for Windows.

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