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Turn your house into a smart-home using Google home

(TECH NEWS) Google has upped the ante in the race to make homes smart with new Google Home integrations.

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Home assistants

The battle between Amazon Echo and Google Home heated up as both platforms are picking up more support from third party apps to make your life even easier. Echo has been around for a couple years now, and Google Home is still a newbie in the game so their 3rd party app support is incomparable.

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Google Home is starting to make waves — the only problem is, Echo is making waves right back.

Smart-home integrations

Google Home just announced a handful of third party devices it will now support and all of them help make your home a smart-home. Belkin, Wemo, and Honeywell are being added to a growing list of smart home devices that offer compatibility with Google Home. For a complete list of all integrated smart home related, google home supported devices read on!

  • Nest – Control security cameras, smoke alarms and thermostats with nests award winning hardware.
  • Philips Hue – Lightbulbs that can change colors, and be controlled remotely or on a timer.
  • Samsung Smart Things – A hub that can manage home lighting, security, outlets, smoke alarms, and a number of other smart devices.
  • Best Buy Insignia – A wifi smart plug that can now be managed by voice.
  • LIFX- Smart lightbulbs and led light strips
  • TP-Link – Smart plugs and lightbulbs
  • Wink – Another hub that integrates with a range of brands and devices.
  • Belkin – Security cameras and integrates wemo outlets
  • Wemo – Smart plugs and lightbulbs
  • Honeywell – Smart thermostats
  • Neato – Robotic vacuums
  • August – Smart video doorbells and smart locks.
  • Rachio – Smart sprinklers
  • First Alert – Cameras, safes, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms
  • Vivint – Integrated home security
  • Frigidaire – Fridges, coffee makers, laundry and appliances galore.
  • Anova – Sous Vide cooker you can control from your phone (and now your voice!)
  • Geeni – Integrated lightbulbs, security cameras and outlets
  • Logitech Harmony – Smart remotes, universal switches and music control

It’s an all out race

Meanwhile Echo has announced proprietary integration with Hauwei and Motorola just two more drops in the bucket of Alexa’s expansive app universe, and all of this as Samsung tries to catch up unveiling Bixby, their Siri like mobile assistant.

So is it time for you to buckle down and pick up one of these home hubs for yourself?

It may still be too early to figure out which platform will emerge as world’s best secretary, and most of these systems can be controlled via smart phone assistant. However, if you’re not making your home smarter yet, then you’re behind the times my friend. Nothing says luxury like waking up to your bedside lamp slowly brightening the way into your day. Trust me.

#Smart-home

C. L. Brenton is a staff writer at The American Genius. She loves writing about all things, she’s even won some contests doing it! For everything C. L. check out her website

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Jack Smith

    March 30, 2017 at 6:47 am

    Have both. Purchased the Echo on its launch almost 2 years ago and now we have several of the Google Homes.

    The Echo uses commands. So you memorize how to ask it something. An example for songs it has a command “song goes like” if you do not know the name.

    With the Google Home you just talk. The two are often compared but really there is no comparison, IMO.

  2. Pingback: Burger King is hijacking Google Homes with a new ad - The American Genius

  3. Pingback: Hey Siri, please download Google Assistant on my iPhone, thanks - The American Genius

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Google set to release new AI-operated meeting room kit… and it’s pretty baller

(TECH NEWS) Google’s newest toy is designed to “put people first” by alleviating video and audio issues for conference room meetings.

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Google Meet Series One is a new meeting kit that puts people first.

Remote meetings can be the worst sometimes. The awful video and audio quality are frustrating when you’re trying to hear important details for an upcoming project. Even with the fastest internet connection, this doesn’t guarantee you’ll be able to clearly hear or see anyone who’s in the office. But Google is re-imagining conference rooms with their new video conferencing hardware.

Yesterday, the company introduced Google Meet Series One. In partnership with Lenovo, this meeting room kit is made exclusively for Google Meet and is poised to be the hardware that “puts people first.”

The Series One has several components that make it stand out. First is the “Smart Audio Bar,” powered by eight beam-forming microphones. Using Google Edge TPUs, the soundbar can deliver TrueVoice®, the company’s “proprietary, multi-channel noise cancellation technology.” It removes distracting sounds, like annoying finger and foot-tapping noises, so everyone’s voices are crystal clear from anywhere in the room.

The hardware also has 4K smart cameras that allow for high-resolution video and digital PTZ (pan, tilt, zoom) effects. Processed with Google AI, the device knows to automatically zoom in and out so all of the meetings’ participants are framed in the camera. With an i7 processor and Google Edge TPUs, the system is built to “handle the taxing demands of video conferencing along with running the latest in Google AI as efficiently and reliably as possible.”

The meeting kit has Google grade security built-in, so the system automatically updates over-the-air. The system also works seamlessly with Google services and apps we already use. Its touch control display is powered by a single ethernet cable. From the admin controls, you can manage meeting lists and control room settings. Powered by assistant voice commands, their touch controller provides a “touchless touchability”; if you want to, you can join a meeting just by saying, “Hey Google, join the meeting.”

These new meeting kits are easy to install and are versatile. They can be configured to fit small, medium, and large-sized rooms. “Expanding kits for larger rooms can be done with just an ethernet cable and the tappable Mic Pod, which expands microphone reach and allows for mute/unmute control.”

According to the Google Meet Series One introductory video, the meeting room kits are “beautifully and thoughtfully designed to make video meetings approachable and immersive so everyone gets a seat at the table.”

Currently, there is no release date set for Google Meet Series One. However, pre-orders will soon be available in the US, Canada, Finland, France, Norway, Spain, Ireland, United Kingdom, Sweden, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Netherlands, Denmark, and Belgium.

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Tech News

One creepy way law enforcement might have your private data

(TECH NEWS) Wait, geofences do what? Law enforcement can pull your private data if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

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Man walking on crosswalk with phone, but his private data could be vulnerable.

By now, it’s pretty common knowledge that our smartphones are tracking us, but what you might not be aware of is just how much law enforcement is taking advantage of our private data. Now, the good news is that some places have gotten wise to this breach of privacy and are banning certain tactics. The bad news is: If you were ever in the vicinity of a recent crime scene, it’s quite possible your privacy has already been invaded.

How are law enforcement doing this? Well, it starts with a geofence.

At its core, a geofence is a virtual border around a real geographic location. This can serve many purposes, from creating marketing opportunities for targeted ads to tracking shipping packages. In the case of law enforcement, though, geofences are often used in something called a geofence warrant.

Traditionally, warrants identify a subject first, then retrieve their electronic records. A geofence warrant, on the other hand, identifies a time and place and pulls electronic data from that area. If you’re thinking “hey, that sounds sketchy,” you are–forgive the pun–completely warranted.

With a geofence, law enforcement can dig through your private data, not because they have proof you were involved in a crime, but because you happened to be nearby.

This practice, though relatively new, is on the rise: Google reported a 15-fold increase in geofence warrant requests between 2017 and 2018. As well as invading privacy, these warrants have led to false arrests and can be used against peaceful protesters. Not to mention, in many cases, geofence warrants can be extremely easy to acquire. One report in Minnesota found judges signed off on these cases in under 4 minutes.

Thankfully, there have been signs of people pushing back against the use of geofence warrants. In fact, there have been multiple federal court rulings that find the practice in violation of the Fourth Amendment, which protects citizens from “unreasonable searches and seizures,” including your electronic data.

If you’re still worried about your privacy, there are ways to keep your electronic data on lock. For example, turn off your location services when you’re traveling, and avoid connecting to open Wi-Fi networks. You can also work to limit location sharing with apps and websites.

These and other tips can be a great way to help you avoid not just geofence warrants, but others who want to use your electronic information for their own gain.

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Tech News

Incoming! Amazon drones will be dropping off packages soon (we hope)

(TECH NEWS) The Federal Aviation Administration has approved Amazon for drone delivery service, but when will the drones actually take flight?

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One of Prime Air's drones ready for test flights.

Amazon has finally received the stamp of approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to deliver packages by drones. This pivotal step brings the online retailer closer to their promise of delivering packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.

In 2013, during CBS’s “60 Minutes” interview, Amazon CEO and Founder, Jeff Bezos, said drones would be delivering customers’ packages within five years. Although the estimate is a couple of years off, it seems like that day might be right around the corner.

Personally, I’m looking forward to the day when little floating presents are sailing through the sky (Animal Crossing balloons, anyone?). Despite our excitement to see our latest Amazon impulse purchase land on our doorstep, it isn’t going to happen overnight.

The Part 135 Air Carrier Certificate Amazon obtained for its fleet of Prime Air drones will allow the company to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) “to carry the property of another for compensation beyond visual line of sight.” Although the FAA certification is allowing Amazon to begin test trials, Bloomberg reports that the retail giant still has “regulatory and technical hurdles” to overcome.

In addition, the FAA has yet to set regulations that will “serve as a framework to expand drone flights over crowds, a building block necessary for deliveries.” Amazon hasn’t said when and where it will start testing the delivery service either.

David Carbon, Amazon Vice President who oversees Prime Air, made this statement: “This certification is an important step forward for Prime Air and indicates the FAA’s confidence in Amazon’s operating and safety procedures for an autonomous drone delivery service that will one day deliver packages to our customers around the world.”

This approval is definitely a step forward, but Amazon has been working on the drone delivery service for years. Early last year, the giant retailer revealed they would start offering one-day shipping. They have followed through on this, at least. And during a Las Vegas Conference in June 2019, they revealed their “fully electric drones that can fly up to 15 miles and deliver packages under five pounds to customers in less than 30 minutes.” But it still doesn’t answer when we can expect to see whizzing drones overhead.

I’m not sure when Amazon will fulfill their last promise. But it is getting closer. What I do know is that I look forward to the Amazon drones taking flight. I can’t wait to place my orders knowing that I will get that last-minute present I ordered just in time.

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