Google Home has a new cloud-side update that brings a handy and much needed feature to the smart speaker. It is now location aware and will only adjust the Smart Home items in the room it is located in, not just across the entire home. Google hasn’t announced this year but the team over at Android Police posted on it yesterday and I can confirm it works for me too.
The problem this solves is straight forward. Prior to this update, if I issued the command, “Hey Google, turn off the lights”, it would turn off all the smart lights in my house, regardless of their location. With this update, if I issue the same command, it will only adjust the lights in the room in which my Google Home picked me up. This is were tagging like “Living Room”, “Office” and other areas become key.
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Netgear is rolling out a new update to their Arlo smart cam devices that brings support for Google Assistant to them. Now you will be able to issue commands like, “Hey Google, show me the front door on the living room tv” and you will be able to see that camera’s view on your Chromecast enabled TV. You can also view the camera feeds remotely on your phone.
If this functionality sounds familiar, it should. Essentially it is the exact same way that Google’s own Nest products work and interact with Google Assistant. Now consumers have a choice in products but don’t sacrifice functionality.
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August, the company behind some of the best smart locks on the market, have announced a deeper, more direct integration with Google Assistant. Now owners of the smart locks will be able to directly interact with them from Assistant.
To be clear, August has worked with Google Assistant for about a year ago and to access your locks, you had to say, “Hey Google, talk to August”. Now you can simply say, “Hey Google, is the front door locked?” and Assistant will interact with your August lock directly to determine if it is locked or not.
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Google has quietly done a bit of updating to the Google Assistant Partner site as well as pushing an update of integration options to the Google Home app. The app update is a cloud-side change so as long as you have the latest version, you’ll be able to see the expanded list when you go to add a new device.
The additional partners range from everything from electric car charging, to lights and switches, to sprinkler control systems. Some of the new integrations on the list aren’t exactly new – some have been in play for a few months – but Google just now got around to updating the official listing to let everyone know about them.
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Slow but surely, Google Home is getting smarter. Today the Home team announced that support for smart home devices from Belkin and Honeywell could now be controlled by the smart speaker-Google Assistant infused device. Belkin Wemo and Honeywell both make a wide range of smart home accessories that are Wi-Fi enabled such as thermostats, light switches, electrical plugs and webcams. Now you can add these to you Google Home in the Home Control section of the app and as long as everything is on the same network, you can set it up to be controlled by Google Home.
When Home was launched last year, Google was clear that more partners would be coming to the device and more integrations would be coming. So far we’ve seen Netflix added from an app perspective as well as a huge number of bots to get information from various resources. With the addition of Belkin and Honeywell, from a smart home perspective, you are no longer just tied to Nest.
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CES 2017 kicks off today and the announcements of new products and devices are already starting. Lenovo announced the Amazon Alexa powered Lenovo Smart Assistant today, a competitor to Amazon Echo and Google Home. The cylinder shaped device looks somewhat similar to the Echo but has a bit more aesthetic appeal. The top half of it is white with a 360-degree microphone and speaker combination on the top of it. The bottom half is more similar to Google home with the woven overlay that is available in several colors.
The Lenovo Smart Assistant is powered by the Intel Celeron N3060 process, has one 5w speaker and one 10w speaker for audio.
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Google Home owners have a nice update rolling out to the Google Assistant enabled Smart Speaker. Google is rolling out an update behind-the-scenes that is enabling the ability to add your Netflix account to the app as well as Google Photos. When it hits your account and it is enabled on the server side by Google, it means you will be able to give your Home commands to show Netflix content or your Google Photos content by voice command.
The Netflix integration is something that most Home users, me included, have been waiting to see. It was demonstrated at the Google event back in October and gives you the ability to instantly start watching content beyond that of Google’s services (like YouTube and Google Play Music) on your Chromecast or your Cast enabled television.
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It appears that shipments for the new Google Home device have started for readers. Multiple readers have either emailed or commented on Google+ of receiving shipment notifications of the $129 Google Assistant-powered device. I too have received a shipment notification with it expected to arrive at the end of the week.
Aimed at competing with the Amazon Echo, Google Home brings the power of Google Artificial Intelligence to give you detailed information about your day, upcoming events, search information, travel information and the like. While it is for everyone in the family, it tied to a single primary Google account. Like Google OnHub, Home is aimed at sitting out in the open and doesn’t look like a piece of techno-kit sitting on a shelf.
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