Automating the light in your home is easy if you only consider getting some smart bulbs or switches or plugs. But once it comes to natural light, the equation gets a bit more complicated. Smart shades/blinds/curtains aren't as ubiquitous, and the current solutions aren't ideal. You either have to replace your entire shades (Ikea, Lutron), the motor (Neo Smart Blinds), or if you're not feeling particularly adventurous, you can try to retrofit your existing window coverings.
The solution for that is both a little genius and ridiculous: there's a cord to control your shades, so how about adding a motor that just pulls on that cord instead of you? Read More
In the Samsung-owned Harman audio empire, consisting of JBL, AKG, and others, Harman Kardon is the original brand and it still has a fairly decent reputation for making products with relative audiophile appeal. The group is no stranger to Google Assistant-equipped devices, but the Citation/Enchant range of speakers, subs, towers, and soundbars really caught our attention when it was announced last summer. This could be the versatile Sonos competitor we've been waiting for.
The range went on sale last month, and I've been able to test the cheapest speaker in the lineup, the Citation One. At $200, it's competing with the Sonos One (I wonder where it got the name from), as well as other Assistant speakers from Sony, LG, JBL, and many more. Read More
Last spring, the Nest Secure finally picked up Assistant-based controls, letting you do things like arm/disarm, and check the status of your home security setup from your phone or Google Home. It would appear that was merely the first step in deeper Assistant integration following the merger of Nest with Google's hardware team. Starting today, your Nest Secure won't just accept commands from your Google Home, it'll start to behave like one itself. That's right, it's getting the Assistant. Read More
You are no longer stuck with a few Google-branded speaker options if you want to invite Assistant into your home. There are speakers from JBL, Sony, and many others—including Marshall. The updated Marshall Stanmore II speaker launched recently, and it looks like a feasible alternative to Google's best-in-class Home Max. It combines classic Marshall styling with modern voice assistant features, but it comes with a steep $400 asking price. Read More
This past holiday season, Google tapped into some serious 90s-kid nostalgia by delivering a Google Assistant ad featuring none other than Macaulay Culkin as Home Alone's Kevin McAllister. While we got to see Kevin all grown up and spending the night by himself, the two Sticky Bandits were absent. Now a fresh video featuring Joe Pesci reminds us of why Google left him out in the first place. Read More
If you're looking for inexpensive smart lighting for your home, this buy-one-get-one-free offer from Office Depot for TP-Link A19 smart bulbs might be just the thing. The bulbs can't change color, but they are dimmable and — most importantly — it'll only cost you $25 to get two with this coupon code. Read More
Voice is quickly becoming a preferred method of search for many mobile users, and Google is responding by pushing voice features to as many of its platforms and services as it can. The latest example is voice search on Google.com for mobile web. The tech giant began rolling out the new feature this past week, but it's only available to Android users so far. Read More
You're all busy people, and that's why being able to set a reminder with the Google Assistant on your phone is such a godsend. Unfortunately, a few people are experiencing an issue whereby those reminders aren't triggering a notification as they should. Read More
Dark mode is all the rage on Android right now, with many of even Google's own apps either having or being in the process of adding support for shadier themes (and it's not just Google apps). Soon, Android itself will support a darker palette at the OS level - something many in the community feel is years overdue. Now, it seems the Assistant UI is getting in on the action, and the team's first stab has, to put it plainly, not gone well. Just look at these screenshots. Read More
If you've been living on the beta distributions of the Google app, you probably spent the weekend (and a couple days into the week) with a broken At A Glance widget that couldn't display the weather. The issue has been resolved with yesterday's update, and it seems like things are running smoothly again. Bugs aside, not much changed in the jump to 9.0 for users, but a teardown does show some of the things to come. Read More