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Arlo's cameras will work with the Google Home and Assistant

Gather 'round for some happy news, Arlo owners. If you've been envious of Nest's integration with Google Home and Assistant, the wait might be drawing to a close. Arlo has a landing page where it's promising that the Google Assistant integration is "coming soon" for its connected security cameras.

The entire page is very light on details and all we know is that you'll be able to stream any of your cameras by saying, "Ok Google, show me camera_name on tv/chromecast_name." That's the same thing you can do with Nest and Logi right now, and it requires a Chromecast connected to a TV or an Android TV set-top box to work.

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The ultimate guide to Google Home: Tips and tricks for understanding and making the most out of your assistant speaker

You just got a Google Home, and after unwrapping it and setting it up, you've asked about the weather, requested a few songs to play, and set a timer for 5 minutes to see how it rings. Now what?

I've been covering Google's smart speaker for more than a year now and I've owned a couple of Google Homes for about a year, yet I still feel like I'm not using them to their full potential. Every week brings new features and integrations that make it tough to remember all that can be done, so for those of you who don't know what to ask beyond playing music, those who are getting confused by hearing a different voice sometimes from the speaker, those who are always wondering why some actions work for them but not other members of their household, this is the most accurate tutorial I can write right now.

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[Update: 1st gen Chromecast unsupported] The first Google Home visualization is live - see the weather on your Chromecast

We've been able to ask Google Assistant for information about the local weather for a long time, and your Chromecast's home screen has shown the current temperature along with a weather icon. But if you wanted to check out your upcoming weather, the only option was to "OK Google" yourself a forecast while you sit and listen through it. Back at I/O, Google announced upcoming contextual visual responses for the Google Home/Assistant and Chromecast, and now at least one of the features they showed off is here. You can now ask your Google Home to show you the weather on your Chromecast.

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Google Home can now set alarms with music instead of that obnoxious beeping

The default alarm tone for the Google Home may leave a tiny bit to be desired, but thankfully Google has just introduced an alternative: you can now set your next alarm to play music instead. So the next time you need to set an alarm for an impromptu nap or that bird in the oven, you can be jerked back to awareness with something a bit more entertaining.

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Google Home adds maxdome as a video provider in Germany

Google Home is available in a few countries, but if you live anywhere outside the US, your choice for a video provider is quite limited. Telling Home to play a video from YouTube, Google Photos, or Netflix works in all countries, but that's it. The US gets CBS, CW, Viki, and YouTube TV, but other countries don't have any local content providers. Beside Australia, that is, which has Stan and now Germany is adding maxdome (it should work though it hasn't shown up in this list yet).

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[Update: Beta update rolling out, downloads] Google says a fix is coming on January 18th for Wi-Fi problems associated with Cast devices

A few days back we reported that the Google Home Max (among other Cast-enabled devices) might be connected with some recent reports for widespread Wi-Fi troubles. Google has indirectly responded to this issue in a page on the Device Support section for Google Home support, in which the company acknowledges the existence and cause of the problem, promising a fix tomorrow. 

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[Deal Alert] Save a few bucks on select Google Home and Chromecast Ultra combos, I guess ($10-$30 off)

Google is offering discounts on particular combinations of its Google Home and Chromecast hardware, but the deals are just kind of okay, and frankly a bit of a letdown with all the big price slashes from the holidays still fresh in our memories.

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Google Assistant and Home can now natively control your smart locks, August and Vivint are the first supported

There are a few smart home device types that your Google Assistant/Home can control natively. Lights, plugs and switches, and thermostats were some of the first, but recently we've seen the addition of dryers, washers, dishwashers, vacuums, fridges, and even scenes. However, one type of device I've been personally waiting for are smart locks. Up until now, all smart locks were, uhm, locked into using the Assistant apps for integration, and not the native smart home capability. So users of August locks had to "ask August to lock the door," and those with Vivint had to "ask Vivint if the door is locked," for example.

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The Google Home has a hidden API that local devices can use

The Google Home works with a massive number of smart home products, but developers looking to tinker with it are usually out of luck. It doesn't have any kind of public API, so custom functionality can really only be added through IFTTT (or by writing your own Assistant app). Now there is a way to obtain some data from a Google Home, as one developer has discovered an undocumented API that the Google Home uses.

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You can now control your Sonos speakers with Google Home through Yonomi

Sonos products are praised for a lot of good reasons, but integration with other smart home ecosystems isn't one of them. Until recently, you'd have had to use some separate hardware or scripts to control any Sonos speaker, but no longer. Google has added support for Yonomi to the Google Home and Google Assistant, and since Yonomi supports Sonos natively, that means that controlling your Sonos speakers with Google Home no longer requires a workaround.

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