Report: Google urges companies to make Google Home copies to bolster its Assistant

Google Home
Google may be entering the smart home business with its own hardware — Google Home — but it seems as though the company isn’t too fussy about how well the device does. Instead, what it really wants is the software running on it, Google Assistant, to be in as many homes as possible.

According to a report from Variety, Google is encouraging electronics makers to build their own smart home hubs with the Google Home virtual assistant built-in to them, largely in an effort to compete against the highly popular Amazon Echo. Google is expected to divulge more details about the Assistant at its October 4 event.

According to the report, Google has even held closed-door events with representatives from electronics companies to try and drum up interest for Google Home. The meetings reportedly included about 50 individuals, and some of the biggest names in the home audio industry were in attendance.

Many of those companies aren’t new to working with Google, according to the report. Some of them, for example, have worked with Google on smart home speakers that have Google Cast, a feature that essentially allows you to stream audio from your phone to a home speaker.

It certainly makes sense that Google would be pushing for adoption of its new home assistant. Google has always encouraged the use of its software on other devices, a tradition that dates back to when Android first started gaining popularity. While Google is taking more of an interest in hardware of late, the company still makes the vast majority of its money through advertising, and the more platforms it has to advertise through or to gain data through, the more money its likely to make. It will be interesting to see if any “powered by Google Home” devices pop up over the next year, and what they have to offer.

Mobile

Google Fi is getting support for the next-gen messaging standard, RCS Chat

Google has been pushing the development of the RCS Chat standard, and now it's finally bringing that new standard to its own carrier -- Google Fi. With Chat, customers will get features like read receipts, better group messaging, and more.
Wearables

How to switch TicHealth to Google Fit on the Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro

The Mobvoi TicWatch C2 and TicWatch Pro are both much-loved and feature-packed watches, and they offer excellent fitness tracking. Recently, Mobvoi has switched out Google Fit for TicHealth, but you can switch them back. Here's how.
Smart Home

Array by Hampton brought locks and security lighting to CES 2019

Lock and lighting company Hampton is at CES 2019 with a new line of smart home products. Called Array by Hampton, the lineup includes internet-connected locks, lights, and an app to control them.
Mobile

Google has found a clever way to make your search history more useful

Google has found a clever way to make more use of your search history by showing links to pages you've visited before. Ideal for repeat searches for the same page, the links show up on cards at the top of mobile search results.
Smart Home

IKEA’s new blinds for the smart home arrive April 1 in the U.S.

The Swedish furniture giant IKEA is adding a new product called FYRTUR, which turns out to be a new set of blackout blinds for the smart home that can be controlled by remote or programmed through the company's app.
Smart Home

Haier’s shoe washer cleans sneakers without all the clanging and banging

At CES 2019, Haier brought a bunch of shoe-centric appliances, including its sneaker washer. The appliance douses shoes with water and detergent and scrubs them, and then you can put them in the accompanying dryer.
Product Review

Gate’s Smart Lock is locked and loaded but ultimately lacks important basics

In a world of video cameras and doorbells comes the Gate Smart Lock, a lock with a video camera embedded. It’s a great idea, but lacks some crucial functionality to make it a top-notch product.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Smart Home

A.I.’s humorous side: Here are the funniest things to ask Alexa

Amazon's Alexa voice assistant has a wide repertoire of funny responses, jokes, and hidden replies that you can have fun with. Here are the best funny things to ask Alexa and examples of what her responses are.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Smart Home

The best multicookers of 2019 for everything from sauteing to slow cooking

Find the best multicookers for your cooking ambitions. Whether you are just getting started in the kitchen or you've been cooking for years and want a device to make it easier, these are the best smart pots for you to choose from.
Smart Home

This Silicon Valley studio rents for $1,500 per month — to 2 cats

A man in San Jose, California, rents a studio apartment for $1,500 per month for a very important reason: So his daughter's two cats have a place to call their own. It may be the swankiest cat pad on the West Coast.
Deals

Amazon drops prices on Roomba robot vacuums by up to $150

Amazon is offering discounts on iRobot Roombas and other robot vacuums to help you get a leg-up on those chores. We've rounded up the best deals available now and put them all in one place.
Smart Home

Speed up cooking with one of the best pressure cookers on the market

Not all pressure cookers are created equally. You have to choose between stovetop cookers, multicookers, canners, and even microwave cookers. Our pressure cooking buyer's guide includes our picks for the best in each category.