internet of things

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.

How Can I Move With my IOT Devices?

Internet of Things

Episode 1585

Doctor Mom from New York, NY

Doctor Mom is moving and she has run into an issue with all of her internet of things devices. She has to officially deactivate every device, especially those that are built in. She can't just unplug them and bring them along, or leave her smart hub lights behind.  Leo says this is a whole new problem that nobody has ever thought of before. Doctor Mom wishes she could just deactivate the hub and leave it behind for the next owner. But it doesn't work that way.

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.

Is the Echo Look good for the blind?

Amazon Echo Look

Episode 1527

Olga from Prescott, AZ

Olga wants to know if the Amazon Echo Look is a good option for the blind. Leo says that while the Echo is great for the blind in general, the Look model has a camera that is really only good for taking pictures of an outfit to make a fashion choice. Then it uses the pictures to compare wardrobe choices from the last week and to recommend outfits. Leo found it to be a bit silly, and it might not be her taste.

Amazon Hosts Surprise Alexa Event with 14 New Products

Episode 1525

Thursday, Amazon held a surprise Alexa event, announcing 14 new Alexa centered products, with nearly 75 new features. Rich doesn't think it's trivial that Amazon chose the day before the iPhone shipped to grab all the headlines. But Rich also thinks that companies want their customers to be exclusive, and you can end up becoming deeper into their ecosystem, making it harder to use other products outside of it.

How can I use a Ring video doorbell without home internet?

Ring Video Doorbell 2

Episode 1507

Mimi from Orange County, CA

Mimi recently bought a Ring Video Doorbell 2, but she doesn't have internet at home. Leo says she would have to have internet access at home to get it to work. It has to have Wi-Fi to connect. She could use a cellphone in hotspot mode, but that would be as expensive, or more than just having a home internet connection. She could talk to her neighbors to see if she can use their Wi-Fi to connect her doorbell. Another option is to use a MiFi card. That would enable her to connect up to five devices, including the doorbell.

How could I get Google Assistant to turn on my sound bar?

Logitech Harmony Hub

Episode 1507

Noah from Grand Rapids, MI

Noah has bought a sound bar, but it won't turn on with his Google Assistant. Leo says if the sound bar isn't supported by Google, or vice versa, it won't be able to use voice activated control from the Google Assistant. He could just leave it on, but if it shuts down automatically, then that's going to be a problem. He should look to see if he can disable the eco, or power down mode.