Google Assistant

What's an Alternative to the Echo Spot?

Spot

Episode 1600

Craig from Newport News, VA

Harold has noticed that the screen on the Echo Spot has started to flicker. Of course, his warranty has run out and the best that Amazon can do is offer him a 50% discount.  Leo says that if he's all in on the Amazon Ecosystem, then the Echo Show is a good option. But why is it broken? The Echo Spot isn't very expensive and they don't use the best screen hardware. So it may have just worn out. 

Has my Google Home Hub been hacked?

Google Home

Episode 1596

Pat from Los Angeles, CA

Pat has a google home hub and she thinks it's been hacked. What can she do? Leo says that it's likely that someone has hacked Pat's Google account. Leo recommends changing her password and turning on 2-factor authentication. Add an account recovery number and email as well. That will keep someone from changing your password. Leo also recommends turning off "share your device" in the settings and set up Voice Match. 

Is There an Open Source Alternative to Amazon Echo?

Amazon Echo

Episode 1595

Grant from St. Paul, MN

Grant thinks that home assistants like Google Assistant or Amazon Echo are great for home automation, but he hates talking to a box and knowing that it listens to everything he says. He wants more control over what it hears and what it doesn't. Leo says that there is an open source version called OpenHab, that is highly customizable and completely internal. And it runs on Raspberry Pi. There's also Mycroft.

Can I call Google Assistant anything?

Google Assistant

Episode 1591

Richard from California

Richard wishes he could name his Google Assistant something else so it wouldn't go off when he doesn't want it to. Leo says that the Hey Google in the mobile phones can. So why can't the assistant? It may be that it just doesn't have a powerful enough processor, and as such, it couldn't read it fast enough. It's likely comparing waveforms with what it has on the device, and then, activates. Then again, it may just be marketing. 

NEST Goes all Google ... rebrands

Google Nest Hub

Episode 1591

NEST has officially become Google NEST, and will solely become a Google Product. Leo says that while Google has owned NEST for a while now, it had kept it largely autonomous, including the data it collected. No longer. No Google owns all the data it collects and will use it. Even worse, Leo says that Google is already phasing out support for other IoT devices and will solely be supported by Google Assistant.  Leo says it's annoying when a company encourages you to deep dive into a product's ecosystem and then changes it so that it can't be used with other products.

The Giz Wiz ... Google in Your Car

Dick DeBartolo

Episode 1584

Reporters learned about the Roav Bolt at CES 2019. But it just became available for sale this past Tuesday, April 17th. The Roav Bolt is an aftermarket device by Anker that brings the Google Assistant to almost any car. Optimized for Android devices, just say, “Hey Google,” or tap the button on Roav Bolt to find the nearest coffee shop, play your favorite song or podcast, navigate home, read texts, make calls, set reminders, and check your schedule for the day.

Will 5G Harm Us?

reservations

Episode 1582

Taylor from Cincinnati, OH

Taylor hears that 5G is so limited in range, that there will be more towers and connections. Will that be harmful to people? Rich says no, but it's likely going to replace everything from home internet connection to free public wifi. But how unsightly will it be with all those towers

When will Google Duplex be able to make restaurant reservations? Rich says he just recently tried it out and it works in 43 different states. 

Is there a secure way to remotely lock or unlock my door?

Episode 1560

Sam from Torrance, CA

Sam is thinking of getting an Alexa or Google Assistant to control his door locks and is worried about security and privacy. Leo says that all assistants are roughly the same. They listen for a keyword. And there's no evidence that either Amazon or Google are spying on you. Schlage makes one that is dedicated and doesn't need the assistant, so it has a directly line which can be more secure. But any iOT device can get hacked. Bottom line is, that no door lock is perfect. It's a deterrent, a suggestion. But if the bad guy wants to get in, he can.

What's hot in consumer electronics right now?

man holding smartphone and typing on laptop

Episode 1516

Josh from Redding, CA

Josh would like to educate himself on consumer electronics and technology. Leo says that tablets and mobile have really moved into the game, even in the corporate arena, where Bring Your Own Devices is a thing now. Voice technologies like the Amazon Echo and Google Assistant are really hitting the mainstream, and with that, so is home automation. Drones are also big. And looking over the horizon, AI is going to be big.