Harmony's history with Google Home and Assistant goes way back. When support for the service first rolled out, it was an Actions on Google integration (or Assistant app). That meant you had to "ask Harmony to do something" every time, which only worked with your own voice (no support for other home members unless they added the account in their own Assistant) and was very inconvenient. Sure, you could create shortcuts/routines to avoid having to say "ask Harmony" for every command, but even those were voice-dependent and you had to manually set up an equivalent shortcut for every action.
Direct integration for Harmony with Assistant — so it would work like Hue, Nest, LIFX, and others — was promised in May. Read More
The Google Home app has been a mess for a while now. Instead of being a control center for your smart home, as the name suggests, the main focus is video content suggestion - a holdover from when it was the Chromecast app. We first saw evidence that a redesign was in the works a few months ago, and now the new app is official. Read More
If you're looking to deck your house out in connected devices, Google has you covered. The 'Smart TV kit' with a Home Mini and Chromecast leaked last week, and now it appears that's just one of several bundles that Google is selling on its website. Read More
Smart home devices are an absolute pain to manage, especially if you use products from different companies. To help make the complicated smart home ecosystem a little simpler, Google is introducing a new 'Home View' for Assistant smart displays, and a redesigned Home app. Read More
If you live in a house with no central climate control, or if you're making an expansion to your house and it's impossible to get a ducted system in place, a ductless setup may be your only hope. Nest, Ecobee, and the dozen other smart thermostats we often talk about aren't compatible with ductless systems, so you have to start thinking creatively if you want connected climate control. The solution comes in the form of small units that can send the same infrared signals as an air conditioner's (AC) remote, but that are themselves WiFi-enabled for remote access. Read More
Amazon’s Alexa app serves as the gateway between users and their smart home devices, such as the recently updated Echo line of speakers. Almost a year ago, the app reached 10 million downloads and shortly after that, the company updated it with voice commands. Now it’s getting a major redesign which brings a new device view that lists all companion units on one screen.
The update has already rolled out to iOS users, and Amazon has confirmed to us that the refreshed Android experience will begin to show up over the coming weeks. Read More
The Google Assistant's bag of smart home tricks is growing at breakneck speed. At the beginning of this year, the Assistant supported 1,500 devices; by May, that figure had ballooned to more than 5,000. Now, with little fanfare, the Google Home support page has been updated to show that more than 10,000 devices from more than 1,000 manufacturers play nice with Google's ecosystem. Read More
When it comes to wireless security systems, the Arlo Pro 2 is about as good as they come. These motion-activated cameras can operate on battery power and transmit audio and video via 2.4GHz Wi-Fi. Back in July, we praised the battery life of the cams and loved the flexibility of the battery-powered setup. If you're interested in purchasing them, Costco has a five-unit bundle available for $750, which is $100 off the retail price. The last time we saw a deal on Arlo devices was back in July, and they didn't include the battery charger (a $50 value). Read More
Smart speakers are quickly becoming standard across U.S. households. My grandmother recently floored me when she demonstrated how she uses her JBL Link to play 60s music with Google Assistant. I was impressed because she was still learning how to Google, but here she was jamming out while making breakfast. That’s the moment I knew smart speakers were here to stay. Research from Nielsen now confirms the sudden rise of this market category. Read More
Polk had the interesting idea of putting an Echo Dot into a soundbar, not only offering something that sounds better than your TV's speakers, but also adding Alexa to your living room. This all-in-one solution was dubbed the Command Bar, an unassuming soundbar that also happens to have what looks like an actual Echo Dot shoved in the middle. Read More