Google Home Now Understands Location and Adjusts Smart Home Items in That Room Only

Google Home

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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Google Launches Android Things IoT Platform After 17 Months of Testing

Android Things Logo

After some 17 months of testing in various shapes and forms, Android Things has finally been released.  The 1.0 version of Android for IoT (Internet of Things) devices, brings all the benefits of Android but in a streamlined, power friendly package.  Developers of Android should find Android Things familiar straight away.

The beauty of Things is that you have access to all the APIs, development tools and resources that are already used in Android development and can use them to develop hardware solutions on certified Android Things hardware for use in IoT projects.

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New Report Suggests Nearly 20% of Americans Have a Smart Speaker

Voicebot Smart Speaker Adoption USA Chart

A new report from Voicebot.ai suggests that 19.7% of Americans have at least one smart speaker in their homes with nearly 72% of them being Amazon Echo devices powered by Amazon Alexa.  The report goes on to suggest that by the end of the year, nearly 50% of households will have at least one smart speaker in their house.

The reports is based on a survey of 1,057 US adults and extrapolated from there.  While it may not be the largest sample size, it does give a solid indicator of where smart speakers going in the market and their adoption rate.  While Echo adoption was at 71.9%, Google was a distant 2nd at 18.4%.  The likes of the Hardon Karmon Invoke, powered by Microsoft Cortana, falls into the “other” category which accounted for 9.7% of devices.

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Netgear’s Arlo Smart Cams Adds Google Assistant Support

Arlo Pro 2

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 Smart Locks Expands Google Assistant Support

August Smart Lock

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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Amazon Acquires Ring for Approximately $1 Billion

Ring Doorbell Pro

In what is one of the company’s biggest acquisitions ever, Amazon has come to an agreement with Ring to buy the Santa Monica, California based company for a reported $1 Billion.  The terms of the deal were not disclosed but all indications are that Ring, much like other acquisitions Amazon has made, will at its core remain as a separate brand until the corporate umbrella.

Ring is best known for their connected cameras, doorbells and other home automation & security solutions.  The acquisition, from Amazon’s perspective, fits well into their overall home automation strategy as well as integration with their assistant, Alexa.

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Google Assistant Support Coming to Schlage Sense Smart Deadbolt Lineup

Schlage Sense Smart

Home deadbolt and locking manufacture Schlage has announced that Google Assistant support will be coming to their range of Sense Smart deadbolts in the coming months.  It will allow owners of the locks to use Assistant via their phone or Google Home devices to lock or unlock the deadbolt on their homes.

The integration with the Schlage locks and Google Assistant will also allow users to check if they locked the deadbolt.  Using voice commands, they can ask Assistant if the deadbolt is locked and, if it is not, will be prompted on if they want to lock it.  This can be done both inside the house as well as outside.  The idea being, if you were in a rush to get to the office in the morning and can’t remember if you locked the front door, you will be able to ask Assistant if you did and lock it remotely.

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Android Things Developer Preview 3 Released

Android Things Logo

Google’s Internet of Things (IoT) version of Android, Android Things, has been updated to Developer Preview 3.  The platform, built on Android but in a much more stripped down version to work with smaller memory and hardware footprints, has been in Preview mode for well over a year now with the latest update bringing some much needed features for the platform.  The idea behind Things is that, if you are a developer on Android today, you can develop on Android Things and create IoT devices.  In other words, you don’t have to learn another coding language.

Perhaps the biggest new feature is support for Android Bluetooth APIs.  Developers can now write to these APIs, both the Bluetooth classic and Bluetooth LE stacks, just as they can in full Android.  Bluetooth is expected to be a critical part of the development of IoT so having this support on board is great to see for developers.

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