DT Daily: Google Home adds features to top Amazon Echo

The battle between Google Home and Amazon’s Alexa is heating up. At I/O yesterday, a host of new features were announced for Google Home including a calling feature that connect with any number in the US and Canada for free. Alexa’s calling feature only works with other Alexa devices… for now at least.

Also new is proactive assistance which will send you voice alerts for important events. And finally, with visual responses, Home will be able to display information you request to your smartphone, or screens in your house connected through Chromecast. This includes glances at your calendar, weather info, and navigation directions.

At this point, Google is just doing a better job of making everything work together. But we’re confident that Amazon will have Alexa working with the Fire TV in the near future.

Also announced at I/O was Google Lens. It basically makes the camera on your smartphone, well, smart. Through machine learning it will recognize objects in the photos and give you relevant information about them. Point it at a flower and Lens will identify it for you. Take a pic of the label on your wifi router and Lens can connect to the network.

Through google’s knowledge graph Lens can give you an Augmented Reality view of the street you’re on showing detailed info about everything around you. And with Google Assistant, taking an image of a marquee in front of a concert venue will let you save the event in your calendar.

The potential here is awesome, but it’s also a bit scary that google can extract so much information from images. Is this too ‘big brother’ for you. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

The ability for bad guys to smuggle stuff into prisons got a lot easier when drones entered the picture. And the latest countermeasure against this is a 2000 foot high invisible“drone shield” at a prison in the UK. The system incorporates a number of signal disruptors placed around the perimeter as well as inside the prison grounds. When it detects a drone flying close by, it jams the signal between the drone and the pilot. What’s more, the system flies the drone to where it took off, hopefully leading prison guards to the would be smugglers.