smart home

Amazon Alexa now recognizes your voice

Amazon Alexa now recognizes your voice

Amazon's Alexa is learning voice recognition, with the Echo smart speakers set to spot who is talking and offer up personalized replies. The functionality has remained one of the most-requested for Alexa, with users' eagerness only fueled by Google adding support for voice recognition to its Google Home several months ago.

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Google Home Mini bug records everything 24/7, fix rolling out

Google Home Mini bug records everything 24/7, fix rolling out

When Google announced the Pixel 2 smartphones, it also announced its response to Amazon's growing dominance in the smart home speaker market. While the Google Home Max was designed to appeal to audiophiles, the Google Home Mini was meant for those looking into more affordable ways to fill their homes with Google Assistant devices. Unfortunately, it seems that for what is claimed to be a small percentage of new owners of the Home Mini, that affordability came at the price of privacy because of a hardware issue that made the small speaker record everything 24/7 and send those to Google.

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Amazon’s smart doorbell could give delivery people access

Amazon’s smart doorbell could give delivery people access

Amazon is reportedly working on a smart doorbell, that would allow delivery people one-time access into your home. The device, which has not yet been officially confirmed by the retailer, is intended to offer a solution to disappearing packages and weather-damaged shipments, which can be left vulnerable, waiting on doorsteps for some time. According to a new report, it's one of a number of ideas Amazon has for addressing the problem.

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Netgear Arlo Pro 2 packs 1080p, solar option, and Alexa support

Netgear Arlo Pro 2 packs 1080p, solar option, and Alexa support

Netgear has revamped its connected home security cameras, with the Arlo Pro 2 now promising higher resolution, more flexible installation, and better integration with the broader smart home. The Arlo Pro 2 now jumps to 1080p Full HD video, though retains its predecessor's battery-powered, wireless design. However, there's now a solar powered option.

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Samsung’s Star Wars robo-vacs use the (suction) Force

Samsung’s Star Wars robo-vacs use the (suction) Force

Star Wars: The Last Jedi mania is upon us, and if you haven't watched the new trailer and bought your limited-edition R2-Q5 droid, maybe you could start by cleaning up. Samsung has unveiled a pair of new Star Wars limited edition robot vacuums, based on its POWERbot. The new Samsung VR7000 comes in two finishes, both with a Star Wars theme.

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August Doorbell Cam Pro Review

August Doorbell Cam Pro Review

The smart home is flourishing right now, and connected security is probably the hottest area of them all. August's Doorbell Cam Pro arrives today to bring your front door into the 21st century, replacing your dumb doorbell with a camera and floodlight toting, WiFi connected upgrade that also plays nicely with the company's smart locks. The promise is that the rough spots of the original August Doorbell Cam have been polished away; I got out my screwdriver set to find out if that was true.

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Canary’s security cameras suddenly became less attractive

Canary’s security cameras suddenly became less attractive

There's no such thing as a free lunch, they always say, so when someone does offer you one, you can be certain there will be strings attached. In most cases, it usually means "free but limited". But there are some that do suspiciously offer more at no cost, only to suddenly change the rules. That seems to be the case with Canary, maker of somewhat popular connected security camera products, who has incited an angry mob by hiding once free and somewhat critical features behind a $9.99 monthly fee at the very least.

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Sonos’ Alexa public beta arrives today in “sonic internet” push

Sonos’ Alexa public beta arrives today in “sonic internet” push

Sonos has launched a public beta of its Alexa integration, following up on its promise to use Amazon's virtual assistant to control its multiroom speakers. The public beta follows Sonos' ongoing closed beta, which has been running for a small number of users over the past few months. However, you won't need a new Sonos speaker in order to try it.

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Philips Hue is the new Apple HomeKit button-master

Philips Hue is the new Apple HomeKit button-master

This week the folks at Philips got wise to the world of Apple HomeKit, making Philips Hue king of the smart home button in the process. Philips Hue incorporating buttons into Apple's HomeKit means they'll take a new command of the market. "With a press of a button, or a movement of your body," said Philips, "you can activate your favorite Apple Home app scenes."

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Samsung’s ADT-powered security system is a SmartThings hub too

Samsung’s ADT-powered security system is a SmartThings hub too

Samsung has teamed up with security firm ADT for a new home alarm system, borrowing the DIY automation cleverness of SmartThings and combining it with professional monitoring. Dubbed the Samsung SmartThings ADT home security system, it offers an alternative to the recently announced Nest Secure and today's Ring Protect system. Like both, it's intended to be installed by the homeowner themselves, rather than demanding professional installation.

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Ring Protect promises home security with 24/7 monitoring

Ring Protect promises home security with 24/7 monitoring

It's clearly the season for home security systems, with Ring launching Ring Protect with the promise of 24/7 monitoring and easy installation. Building on the company's line-up of cameras and video doorbells, Ring Protect is intended for DIY installation, with a range of wireless motion sensors, door/window sensors, and more.

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Smart home security needn’t be complicated

Smart home security needn’t be complicated

If there's one place the modern smart home has delivered everyday benefits, it's in home security. Gone are the days where installing a comprehensive system involved miles of cabling and demanded specialist electricians to get it up and running. These days, you can outfit your house with all the sensors, alarms, and control panels in a matter of hours, even if you don't have a screwdriver.

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