Google Home can now translate conversations on-the-fly

Just last month, Google showed off an “Interpreter mode” that would let Google Home devices act as an on-the-fly translator. One person speaks one language, the other person speaks another, and Google Assistant tries to be the middleman between the two. They were only testing it in select locations (hotel front desks, mostly) at the […]

Report: Smart speaker adoption in U.S. reaches 66M units, with Amazon leading

Smart speakers had a good holiday. Amazon already said its Echo Dot outsold all other items on its site this holiday season, which hinted toward the sizable growth for the voice-powered speaker market. Today, research firm CIRP is reporting the U.S. installed base for speakers grew to 66 million units in December 2018, up from […]

Wrest control from a snooping smart speaker with this teachable “parasite”

What do you get when you put one Internet connected device on top of another? A little more control than you otherwise would in the case of Alias the “teachable ‘parasite’” — an IoT project smart speaker topper made by two designers, Bjørn Karmann and Tore Knudsen. The Raspberry Pi-powered, fungus-inspired blob’s mission is to […]

Smart speakers hit critical mass in 2018

We already know Alexa had a good Christmas — the app shot to the top of the App Store over the holidays, and the Alexa service even briefly crashed from all the new users. But Alexa, along with other smart speaker devices like Google Home, didn’t just have a good holiday — they had a […]

The best and worst gadgets of 2018

There were countless gadgets released in 2018. It’s the end of the year, so Brian and I rounded up the best of the best and the worst of the worst. Some where great! Like the Oculus Go. Or the Google Home Hub. But some were junk, like the revived Palm or PlayStation Classic. CES 2019 […]

Google’s Home Hub can be bricked with one line of code

Security advocate Jerry Gamblin has posted a set of instructions — essentially basic lines of XML — that can easily pull important information off the Google Home Hub and, in some cases, temporarily brick the device. The Home Hub, which is essentially an Android tablet attached to a speaker, is designed to act as an […]

Comparing Google Home Hub vs Amazon Echo Show 2 vs Facebook Portal

The war for the countertop has begun. Google, Amazon and Facebook all revealed their new smart displays this month. Each hopes to become the center of your Internet of Things-equipped home and a window to your loved ones. The $149 Google Home Hub is a cheap and privacy-safe smart home controller. The $229 Amazon Echo […]

The Google Assistant is now bilingual 

The Google Assistant just got more useful for multilingual families. Starting today, you’ll be able to set up two languages in the Google Home app and the Assistant on your phone and Google Home will then happily react to your commands in both English and Spanish, for example. Today’s announcement doesn’t exactly come as a […]

Boost VC backs Storyline’s Alexa skill builder

Have you felt a disconnect with your Alexa and wished she could share more of your sense of humor or tell you an actually scary ghost story? Startup Storyline makes designing your own Alexa skills as easy and dragging and dropping speech blocks, and has just raised $770,000 in a funding round led by Boost VC to […]

The 9 features Amazon and Google must add to the Echo and Home

The Amazon Echo and Google Home are amazing devices and both have advantages over the other. In my home, we use the Amazon Echo and have them around the house and outside. I have the original in the living room, a Dot in bedrooms, my office and outside, a Tap in my woodworking workshop and […]