A couple of weeks ago, I got my hands on Google Home and immediately set out to use it and record my initial impressions. Now that I've given this odd little device a chance to prove its worth in my home, the time has come to finish the review. Out of the gate, I must confess to a little personal surprise at just how little my opinions have changed from the first 24 hours I had to spend with the device. As such, I'm not going to repeat everything I said in my first post. This is an addendum. I will touch on all of the subjects again and add details where there is more to say – because there is still a lot to say. Read More
Google Home preorders have started arriving and interested consumers can head down to certain brick & mortar stores to pick one up starting today. I've been messing with Home for a little while and I feel like there's already quite a bit to say about it. Read More
The smart home revolution doesn't seem to be coming as quickly as some had hoped, but whenever it does break out, Amazon intends to be on the ground floor. To that end, the latest addition to Alexa's growing list of voice control connections is Control4, a semi-proprietary collection of home automation tools. The company announced a new Alexa skill that works with the Echo, Echo Dot, Amazon Tap, and any other device that can connect to the voice service. Read More
Piper's home security and automation unit has been improving year over year. Since my initial review, it has overhauled its app and enhanced many of its features, but it also recently released an IFTTT channel that enabled Amazon Alexa integration and let you schedule and automate a couple of actions.
Now Piper is improving its IFTTT channel with more triggers and actions. You can now control your Piper-connected lights with Alexa, get a tweet when Piper detects smoke via a connected sensor, and set dimmer levels or lights when events are detected while you're away.
The best new recipe though, in my opinion, is the one to upload videos recorded by Piper to Dropbox or Google Drive. Read More
Amazon Echo is about to have company. As the New York Times reported, Google has a competing device in the works, and it has the full weight of the search giant's natural language processing behind it. If you haven't already heard the name, you could probably take a guess. It's Google Home. Read More
Belkin makes a series of gadgets intended to make your home smarter. Think WiFi-connected light switches and outlets that let you toggle anything you plug in. Now these products work with Nest. Read More
Alarm.com sounds like a website whose sole purpose is starting your day with a broken laptop. Turns out it's a home automation service. The site can manage your security alarm systems, locks, lights, thermostats, and garage doors. Using "scenes," it can manage multiples at once with a single button press.
With the latest update, this functionality has come to the Android app. Read More
I love crowdfunding projects that work well, especially when the product delivers relatively on time and with most of the features working as promised. Piper's home monitoring / security system is one of these success stories, but despite the product's hardware being great, I have been letdown by its poorly designed software and that didn't change since September 2014 when I first reviewed it. But Piper has been growing up in the meantime, releasing a night vision hardware version, adding Life360 integration, and offering several accessories like sensors and lights, and now it's ready to graduate its software and automation too. Read More
The OnHub has been out for more than six months now, and it hasn't evolved much beyond the basic router functionality. Google promised us smart home features, and now it's starting to happen. The latest OnHub update added support for IFTTT. The channel is already live for you to start crafting automation recipes, but your OnHub needs to be on firmware version 7978.51.0, which is rolling out now. Read More
Nest has announced that a communication protocol it's been using internally for its products is now being made available to all device makers. It's called Weave, and I know what you're thinking, but it's not the same as Google's Weave/Brillo platform (because that's not confusing at all). Nest Weave will allow devices around your home to communicate directly (and with the Nest app) rather than relying on the cloud. Read More