Google

Is there a smart assistant that doesn't rely on voice activation?

Google's Action Blocks

Episode 1744

Claire from Boston, MA

Claire would like to know if there's a mechanism for her brother in law that will enable him to communicate with noises he can make. He's very limited. Leo says that Google has done a lot of work on voice recognition through its Google Assistants. But it may be very customized. Leo recommends going to the local Center for Independent Living and consult with an accessibility expert. They would know what can be done with a custom solution.

How Can I Get My Printer to Wirelessly Print Without Google Cloud Print?

Pixma

Episode 1743

Chris from Ithaca, NY

Chris is having issues with her Canon Pixma printer, wirelessly printing from her Chromebook. Leo says that Google Cloud Print has been discontinued. But she should be able to still print to the printer on the local network. Look to see if the printer can log into WiFi. If the Pixma can't log into the network separately, then Chris needs software provided by Canon to log into the printer and set it up.

Leo says that Canon probably hasn't made a Chromebook driver, and thus it may not work unless they put out a driver. But if Chris can see the printer, that's half the battle. 

Tech Giants Face Congress In Anti Trust Subpoenas

Big Tech

Episode 1740

Social media leaders and tech giant CEOs are facing congressional testimony this week over talk of anti-trust accusations. And Leo says that while some accusations may be politically motivated, there may be a legitimate point to all the hullabaloo. Google has a controlling interest in search, and both Facebook and Twitter wield tremendous power as well. But what could the remedy be? Can Google be broken up? You have to be careful now that the economy relies more on activity online.

What Can I Do With a Gift Card Google Won't Honor?

Google

Episode 1735

GJ from Snohomish, Washington

GJ has a Google gift card that Google says is expired. But in his state, there is no expiration for the gift card. What does he do? Leo says it sounds like Google is trying to avert the law by saying the card is damaged and refuses to refund GJ the money. There's also a federal law that says there's at least a 5-year window for Gift Cards.

What Multi-room Speakers Will Offer Party-Mode-Style Broadcasting?

Nest

Episode 1735

Josh from Denver, CO

Josh wants to know if there's an alternative to SONOS that can broadcast music to each room in his house. Leo says that used to be the sole domain of SONOS. It's difficult to do because of latency. Now, other products are capable of doing it thanks to Google's Speakers. NEST Speakers do the same thing as Sonos, but so does Amazon wireless speakers. Leo really likes the Google Nest Speakers. They're ideal. NEST Audio Speakers are about $100 per. 

Ultimate Ears UE Megabook speakers also do the same. But Leo says that Nest Audio is the way to go.

Google's Yawner of an Event...

pixel5

Episode 1733

Leo says that Google's event this week was rather dull and disappointing, muddying the waters of what's coming. First came the Google Pixel 5, which seems a step backward from the Pixel 4. Then they announced a 5G version of the Pixel 4a, which Leo says it more like the 5A with 5g connectivity. Leo says widespread 5G is still more hype and at least a year away. So it's kinda confusing.

Then came the return of GoogleTV, an update to AndroidTV. Chromecast is back with GoogleTV built-in for $49 and remote control. 

Why is my Chromebook asking to create a gmail account?

Chromebook Powerwash

Episode 1728

Jim from Costa Mesa, CA

Jim uses Chromebooks, has three of them. But on his newest one, he keeps getting a notice to add Gmail to his Google Account, even though he already has one. Leo suggests that it may be time to "powerwash" it. Make sure all your local data is stored in the cloud and then select powerwash in the settings and relog in. You should never get that message again. 

Is it easy to transfer my settings to my new Android phone?

Pixel 4a

Episode 1726

Paul from Louisville, KY

Paul discovered recently that his Motorola Moto G hasn't been updated since 2019. Leo says that is because Motorola only promises three years of updates. Even if the phone is working fine, without being updated, it becomes a security issue. Carl bought a new Google Pixel 4a and wants to know how easy it is to transfer everything? Leo says it's very easy, it'll be in the settings. But there are a few things you'll want to ensure. For example, turn on your Google Photos backup. Also make sure your music is backed up online.

Should I put solar panels on my roof?

Tesla Energy

Episode 1722

Thomas from Mahtomedi, Minnesota

Thomas is thinking about going solar and wants to know if it's a good idea for where he lives. Leo says there's a great site from Google called Project Sunroof, that you can visit, put in your address, and it will tell you how much sunlight you will get, how much electricity you generate, and how much you can save. It'll also tell you how long it will take before your savings pay off the investment should you decide to buy rather than lease. Leo leases from Tesla Energy.