If you picked up a Google Home recently, you may be wondering what it's good for besides checking the weather and playing music. Google's smart speakers may not boast as many third-party skills as Amazon's Alexa, but there's still a ton you can do.
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Google Home Hub is the latest member of Google's popular smart speaker family. At first glance, it looks like a Google Home with an LCD bolted on top - which seems pretty superfluous, given you can use existng Homes to stream video to TVs.
However, it turns out that the main selling point isn't video streaming at all. (The key is in the product's name.) In short, it will act as the central hub for all your smart home devices, allowing you to control them at a glance.
Routines has finally made its way to Google Assistant devices in Australia. As the name implies, these provide guidance and help with a range of daily routines - from scheduling morning and bedtime to preparing you for work commutes. There are six ready-made routines to choose from, plus endless customisation options. Here are the details!
Seems Google is practically throwing it's Home Minis at people, first via eBay and now to weekend footy fans. If you'd like a chance at owning one of the $79 gadgets and live in Victoria, get yourself down to the MCG.
With great versatile hardware, powerful sound and the full resources of Google's AI and Assistant software, the Google Home Max is more than just a better version of the original Google Home. This is an excellent quality, relatively compact speaker system that will likely be able to handle all your music, and can also act as a voice-activated hub for all your smart home needs.
The Google Home Mini is an ideal starter product for smart speaker virgins. This doughnut-sized device can do almost everything its bigger sibling can including voice-activated Google searches, the ability to control connected devices in your home, the full version of Google Assistant and the ability to play music.
Normally retailing for $79, you can currently get it for free at eBay. Here are the details!
Going to the effort of setting up a smart home just so you can turn your lights on and off from your phone may not seem like the best use of your time and resources, but with the right gear and apps you can put together some routines that really will impress family, friends and occasional Airbnb guests. Here are five of our favourites.
A security researcher has discovered a new flaw in Google's Chromecast media streamer and google Home smart speaker that allows bad guys to connected gadgets to uniquely identify and, potentially, reveal precise physical locations. Using a technique called "DNS Binding", the researcher was able to use a simple script running in the background of a website to collect data about a network and then use Google's geolocation services to find where the device was based on local wireless networks.
One of the easiest ways to get into the world of smart home devices is to invest in a security camera. Google has been making a big play to embed smart, connected devices to the home through Google Home and their acquisition of Nest. The Nest Cam IQ integrates into the Nest app and includes facial recognition and very sharp images.
Amazon has managed to make Alexa the brand people think of when it comes to digital voice assistants, but the Google Assistant is the smartest of the bunch according to a new study. With that said, they all have serious shortcomings - particularly when it comes to responding to questions - that the industry has yet to iron out.
Google has never really had a great strategy for podcasts, leaving Android users to hunt for third-party apps to manage their subscriptions and play new episodes. (Apple's standalone Podcasts app isn't very good either, but at least it exists.) Now, it looks like the search giant finally has some semblance of a solution that should make it easier to listen to podcasts across your Google and Android devices.
Touchscreens have become the primary way many of us interact with the digital world, but they aren't great options for the visually impaired. Smartphones have small displays and require precise controls, and their screens shut off after a few moments of inactivity, which makes them difficult to use if your vision isn't great. In these instances, a smart speaker is probably a much more useful device.
Our smart speakers continue to get smarter over time, and one of the features recently added to the kit made by Amazon and Google is support for multi-room audio -- in other words, the option to play the same tunes in multiple rooms at once. Here's how to set it up with a group of Amazon Echos, Google Homes, or Sonos smart speakers.
If you're looking to kick your smart home sound system up a notch, here's a fun way to do it. With a little extra work and some RFID technology, you can build your own card-driven jukebox that's sure to impress at your next party.
I've been adding a bunch of smart home devices to my home. It's part of an ongoing experiment to see what I can do to make my life easier, my home safer and to save some money on power bills. But I'm finding that I keep hitting some roadblocks. And while I do hit the odd technical roadblock, I'm finding that the biggest problems stem from the intransigence of vendors.
A major battle is taking place in the world of tech. On one side, there's Amazon - the online shopping juggernaut that now provides the world with a massive portion of its cloud computing needs as well as lots of other associated products and services. On the other there's Google - the search engine that has shifted into becoming a major provider of cloud services as well as dominating online advertising.
The two are also clashing over control of the next generation of tech for the home. As a result, Amazon has pulled sales of the Nest range of smart home accessories from its store.