Smart plugs are a great way to make simple electronics more intelligent — be it an old lamp with a non-removable light bulb, an older TV, or a coffee maker. However, outlets can't tell what's plugged into them, so any smart plug just got a generic logo in the Home app. That changed when Google started automatically adjusting the symbol depending on what you call the device — e.g., "desk light" will give you a light bulb icon.
The original air freshener-shaped Google Home speaker was announced a full four years ago, and we've long heard rumors of a successor with Nest branding in the same vein as other recent products. We're now getting what appears to be our first proper look at this new speaker, and boy does it have a weird shape.
Google has just come off of its virtual "Hey Google" Smart Home Summit with a bouquet of goodies that will let developers make their appliances more useful and, in turn, help people do things around the house in a smarter way. Some of the changes are ones we've already reported on, but there are a few you probably aren't aware of that might just fit your bill.
Google has announced a Smart Home Virtual Summit on July 8 with a keynote, panel discussion, and various other developer sessions that would likely have been part of Google I/O last month had that event not been canceled. While it's only meant for developers building hardware and/or software that works with Google's smart home platform, we could also learn about some upcoming user-facing features, too.
According to a report by 9to5Google, a new Nest-branded speaker with the hardware name "prince" is on the horizon, seemingly to replace the now-discontinued original Google Home. Apart from its abstract existence, all we know is that it should pack a bit more thump than the previous model did — 9to5 puts it somewhere between the OG Home and the Home Max.
Making your home smarter is probably on more people's minds than ever right now, but it can become a seriously dizzying project just remembering all the various voice commands and apps involved, to the point that you might even want a dedicated piece of hardware for controlling it all. Kind of like a universal TV remote, but for light bulbs, cameras, and smart thermostats. And using an old smartphone, you basically can, just as long as it isn't too old.
Google Assistant speakers can be great tools, giving you an easy entry into voice-controlled home automation, but they can also feel like spies giving Google intimate insights into your life and daily routines. If you don't want to go without the convenience an Assistant speaker offers, there are at least some things you can do to make it less invasive.
This story was originally published and last updated .
While smart speakers have rapidly become ubiquitous in many of our homes, there are practical things about them—like initiating a factory reset when you sell them—that just aren't intuitive without a bit of Googling. And since the Assistant (fortunately) won't abide your voice request to initiate one, that means this is one smart speaker and display feature that requires going hands-on. Fortunately, it's pretty easy in most cases for devices like Google Home, Nest Home, and Nest Hub.