Pebble and Essential designer Liron Damir joins Google to work on Home products

Chaim Gartenberg for The Verge: Between his previous experience developing webOS for TVs, his time at Pebble, and his work at Essential, Damir's hire makes sense for Google, especially as the company begins to build out more visual user experience interactions with Home.

Google adds more partners to growing smart home ecosystem

Peter Newman for Business Insider: Over 70 companies in smart home automation have made their devices compatible with Google's smart home assistant.

Best Buy introducing Amazon Alexa and Google Home experiences to 700 U.S. stores

Kurt Schlosser for GeekWire: Best Buy announced Wednesday that the experiences showcasing what is possible with voice technology and smart homes are unique to its stores and about 700 locations across the U.S. will feature the spaces starting next month.

IKEA Trådfri Smart Lighting System to Get Apple HomeKit Support

Tim Hardwick for MacRumors: Swedish home store IKEA has announced that its recently announced Trådfri smart lighting system will soon be compatible with HomeKit, Apple's smart home management platform.

Google Assistant can now control more appliances and smart home devices

Rita El Khoury for Android Police: Yesterday we learned that Google Assistant is about to offer more capabilities on your phones and gain several smart and interesting features.

Google now lets developers write apps for the Assistant on Google Home

Frederic Lardinois for TechCrunch:  Google today announced that all developers (and not just those in its private preview program), can start bringing their applications and services to the Google Assistant, starting with what the company calls “conversation actions” on Google Home. This allows developers to create back-and-forth conversations with users through the Assistant and users can simply start these conversations by using a phrase like “OK Google, talk to Eliza.” While the Assistant also runs on the Pixel phones and inside the Allo chat app, Google says it plans to bring actions to these other “Assistant surfaces” in the future, but it’s unclear when exactly this will happen.   Cont'd...

9 things Google Home can do that Alexa can't

Taylor Martin for CNet:  Google announced its Amazon Echo competitor back at its I/O developer conference in May. Today, it made Google Home official with arelease date and price. It also gave us a closer look at how the company plans to compete with the more established household assistant today, Alexa. While Google has its work cut out in getting broad third-party support that includes other smart-home brands, there is already a healthy list of in-house features Google Home will be capable of out of the gate that Alexa could only hope to add in the future. Here are nine things Google Home can do that Alexa can't.   Cont'd...

Can Google Catch Up to Amazon and Win the Smart Home Race?

Mathew Ingram for Fortune:  Google is famous for coming to the market late. The search-engine business was well established before it arrived, and yet the company managed to take the lead. It now dominates the category. But can it do the same thing in the smart home? The web giant is expected to launch a standalone device called simply Google Home on Tuesday, a device that it hopes will become the centerpiece of the smart home, and provide some strong competition for the well-established Amazon Echo. But it will be an uphill battle.   Cont'd...

Six Google Patents describe a new Home Automation System Covering Home Security

Patently Apple:  Late last month the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office published a series of six Google patents regarding a future home security system that will part of a larger home automation system that will be revealed over time.  In today's brief non-Apple patent report we cover an overview of Google's six patents relating to a future home security system that will eventually be a part of a greater home automation system. Google's first security system patent filing is titled "Home Security System with Automatic Context-Sensitive Transition to Different Modes."   Full Article:  

Why Nest's woes are typical of the smart home industry

Hayley Tsukayama for The Washington Post:  Tony Fadell’s decision to step down from the helm of Nest last week came as a surprise but not a big one. The problems specific to the smart appliance company — which is owned by Google — have been well-documented. But the questions that now loom over Nest aren’t isolated to this one firm, but over the entire smart home industry in general. Nest, after all, was supposed to be the trailblazer leading the smart home revolution. When Google put down $3.2 billion to buy it in 2014, it appeared to make sense. The company was already a fixture in consumers’ online lives, and the purchase would give Google an entry point into their offline lives. The charismatic Fadell seemed to be the right pioneer, given his product experience at Apple that he could apply to Google’s more open computing vision.  But Nest proved to be a less-than-ideal poster child.   Cont'd...

Google announces Google Home smart hub and upgraded Assistant voice engine

Ryan Whitwam for Extreme Tech:  Google has let Amazon basically own the connected home assistant market for the last year and a half with the Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices. Now, Google is leveraging its extensive natural language processing engine to launch Google Home, a connected hub that brings voice commands to your house. Google has also been working on making its system of voice commands more conversational, which it now calls Google Assistant. Google has had voice search capabilities built into Android phones for years at this point. You can even trigger searches with the “OK Google” hotword. However, this is connected to your phone, which is a personal device with your own apps, settings, and data. A home assistant like the newly announced Google Home (and Amazon Echo) is intended to provide voice features to anyone in the family from anywhere in a room.   Cont'd...

EVRYTHNG Becomes First B2B IoT Platform for Product Manufacturers to Offer Nest Certified SDK

New SDK allows devices operated with EVRYTHNG to implement connectivity with Nest in less than 30 minutes

Nest bricks Revolv home automation hubs, because evolution

The Register:  Google Nest is set to brick $300 Revolv home automation hubs after buying out staff and abandoning the project. The software giant acquired Revolv for its talent in October 2014 and next month will drop support for the smaller company's smart home device. The decision means that as of May 15th the Revolv hub become paperweights. A statement on Revolv's site informs customers that their devices are no longer covered by warranties. Nest execs say in a statement only that Revolv was "a great first step" but that Works with Nest is a "better solution" demanding of its resources. Chief executive Arlo Gilbert of Texas-based app developer Televero and Revolv customer says the home automation company's move is a "pretty blatant f**k you" to buyers. "On 15 May, my house will stop working; my landscape lighting will stop turning on and off, my security lights will stop reacting to motion, and my home made vacation burglar deterrent will stop working," Gilbert says.   Cont'd...

The Mess at Nest Echoes the Mess in the Smart Home

Stacey Higginbotham for Fortune:   In January 2014, Google (now under the parent umbrella corporation Alphabet) said it would purchase Nest for $3.2 billion, which validated the hopes and dreams of hundreds of startups that were also building connected products for the consumer home. After the deal was announced, the VC world went mad searching for investments, while larger companies searched for potential acquisition targets. At industry events that year, everyone I ran into with a connected product or a KickStarter was in talks to sell out or score more funds. But two years later, the reality has set in as entrepreneurs in the space are dealing with a skeptical customer base and the challenges of seeing their grand vision for a connected home get mired in rival standards. Meanwhile, economic concerns are leading tech companies to prepare for everything from a nuclear winter to a mild recession.   Cont'd...

Chromecast Audio Is Now An Inexpensive Hi-Res Wireless Home Audio System

By Leo Markus for ImmortalNews:   Google’s Chromecast Audio just became the inexpensive solution for wirelessly streaming music throughout a home or office with its latest update’s incorporation of multi-room streaming support, Google announced on Thursday. As if multi-room support wasn’t enough for one update, the small WiFi enabled device–which plugs directly into a speaker, allowing it to wirelessly stream music over the radio waves–now offers support for high-resolution audio up to 96KHz/24bit lossless audio playback. Google launched Chromecast Audio just a couple of months ago as an inexpensive way to connect speakers to streaming music services such as Spotify, Pandora and obviously Google Play Music. The device, which costs $35, now allows you to blast the same song throughout multiple rooms — effectively grouping speakers together to create an expansive listening environment. In order to do so, users employ the latest Chromecast app, which allows for groups to be setup.   Cont'd...  

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