Google Assistant integrates with GPAY

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So you’re at lunch, your friend pays and you hop onto your online banking, as usual, to transfer them the money. But instead of tapping away for a few minutes, you can now just say ‘Hey Google, pay Jenny $20 for lunch today…’ and Google Assistant will do the rest for you. Google has merged Google Wallet/Android Pay to create their competitor to Apple Pay, so users in the US are now able to use Google Pay to pay others directly, without the need to log in and out of online banking apps constantly. Got that one friend who never remembers to pay? You’re in luck because Google is taking the awkwardness out of asking them for the repayment, as you can also use voice-activated technology to request money. While this feature is on your phones, you’ll still be asked for a fingerprint or password confirmation when you pay someone, so it’s pretty secure, and Google won’t be paying out anything without you knowing about it. On top of this, Google has announced plans to add Google Pay to speakers such as Google Home, although as yet any extra security beyond voice recognition hasn’t been announced for this future update. 


Google and Amazon going head to head AGAIN

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Alice Towndrow
Article Author

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I guess, in the arena of war, you can’t afford to help the other side. That’s exactly what Amazon decided when they announced that they were to stop listing the new Nest products on their site. The Google-owned smart home system retaliated with a move to pull all of it’s products from the amazon site, leaving ‘commander’ (Amazon CEO), Jeff Bezos, to bet big on Amazon’s own smart devices. It’s not entirely unsurprising that in the battle to lead the smart home market, Amazon would want to use their vast scope, and all their website’s immense popularity, to sell and promote their own product and by Nest’s own admission, its been on the cards for a while.

The Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant have been going head to head for a long time, already, so it’s only natural that Amazon would want to up the stakes and have a ‘sink or swim’ moment with their own website and product. Of course, this kind of competitive spirit has been demonstrated by Apple for years, both with Google (over their maps, remember the dire beginnings of ‘Apple maps’?!) and of course with Amazon itself, who stopped selling Apple TV on their site for a time.As a wise person (nearly) said: all’s fair in the technology war, and with google retaliating by blocking their YouTube app on some Fire TVs, it will remain to be seen who has the upper hand in this battle.

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Google Assistant Updates and Improvments

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“Ok, Google… ”

Imagine a world where, with one phrase, your Google Assistant could turn on your lights and your air-con, all while turning your TV on to that unmissable prime-time drama. It’s pretty soon going to be a reality, with the addition of multi-command routines to Google Assistant. The newest feature updates mean more functions can now be added to Google ”routines” letting the user personalise them more. Because who doesn’t want to get through their to-do-list (well, some of it anyway) by just uttering one phrase? Setting up ”Routines” and ”Commands” to respond to one sentence is much like the already existing Amazon Alexa feature. For Example, you can say Ok Google, Goodnight. ” and know that your doors will get locked, lights and TVs are off, and security cameras are turned on.

This week it was also announced, with much excitement, that even more improvements are coming to Google Assistant While we can already use the handy assistant from Google Home hardware, Chromebooks and Pixelbooks, as well as some Android TVs with the built-in native software, It is using it from Android smartphones that will become a whole lot easier! Working assistants on android run phones are about to launch device-specific command software, for use with your very own Google Assistant. Essentially, the whole thing is going to work more smoothly, even listening for specific commands when the screen is off (let’s face it- everyone hates having to turn the screen on when using voice command!)

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Google Assistant smart home partners list updates

Google Assistant already had a large number of official partners, but in attempts to keep ahead of the field (which until Amazon Alexa launches in Australia it will stay the case), Google has recently updated that list.
Now growing to over 200 brands, with a combined tally of over 2500 smart devices. You can read and learn about the brands, with the google official list and if you were already cued up on the devices available with google assistant here are the latest brand names now listed on the official partners over the last few updates.

Cortana Plays Friendly With Gmail.

Those of you that are Window 10 + Android users, you can rejoice. Home Automation with Cortana just became a little bit easier. Windows has just added Google Calendar and Gmail functionality so you can use the windows Voice Assistant to check your calendar, emails, pull up reminders and contacts. Which is great news to anyone into home automation without having a Smart Speaker in the home. all you need now is a windows PC. With windows recently adding connected home features to Cortana for your smart devices.

To make use of your Windows Cortana accessing your google account just go to the Cortana bar, enter Notebook, then Connected Services. (shown above) to set up your Cortana to Google access.

Google Addresses Crippled Home Mini

Google has rolled out its first “fix” after disabling touch functions following reports that the touch functions were causing the Google Home Mini Device to be stuck in a  constant “listening” state. In What many were claiming was the result of google spying on users day to day life.

“Once Google was aware of the situation they ran a software update PERMANENTLY disabling the touch controls feature on all Google Home Mini’s.”

Google originally addressed the discovery with rolling out a patch that they said would permanently disable touch functions on the device, but it appears this was just to cover themselves as the roll out of firmware v 1.29 will bring back some touch functions like pause/play with is accessed from a side tap.

To find out when your next Google Home firmware update is CLICK HERE

Subscribe to About Automation to stay up to date on this subject, and many others.

Harmon Kardon & Samsung

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To say there are a few smart speakers on the market at the moment is a huge understatement. A.I. and smart home companies are all in a race to beat competitors to market for the next big ‘it’ hardware. Amazon Alexa was the first to bring voice assistant and home controls to the market (but over two years later is yet to release in Australia) and Google Home, which is coming next (first to reach the Australian market).  Apple and Samsung are the next big tech companies to release their voice assistants in a speaker. Apple publicly announced the Smart speaker, Homepod, powered by voice assistant Siri, which is due to hit Australia in time for Christmas.

However, details for the South Korean company Samsung have been scarce so far, with many failed attempts to kick-start Voice Assistant Bixby. Due to a few reasons, the biggest being the lack of English recognition and support for the assistant features, and the next is assumed to an already flooded market with a strong fan base for the four other major Smart Assistants.  So far Samsung’s mobile division chief, DJ Koh has kept tightly lipped about any future hardware products coming out the Company, in September saying “Maybe soon we will announce it. I am already working on it” in regards to a smart assist speaker. With no reliable announcement official as of yet, we are left watching as the Samsung team try to iron out any faults with the mobile assistant Bixby. We are left to assume that Koh may have been hinting towards Child Company Harman, which was recently acquired by Samsung back in March of this year, as part of the company’s biggest acquisition ever, which included and not limited to Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, and Mark Levinson.

It was shortly after this that Harman made the rather odd announcement of their smart assistant home speaker design and release date, none other than Microsoft Cortana would power that. As far as Harman Kardon is concerned this is an excellent move as Cortana has much more successful speech recognition and has already started to implement home automation controls on the PC and Xbox. For now, parent company Samsung, this might be a sign of defeat, or it may be a brilliant new partnership. Either is unclear right now.  What we do know now, is that the Harman Kardon came out this week, and it appears to be a powerful speaker. The public will decide what they think of Cortana as a Home Automation Assistant.

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RUMOURED; Google Home to Copy Amazon

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Multiple rumours are pointing to the potential of Google to create a smart ‘Voice Enabled’ assistant with a screen. Following the release of Amazon’s Alexa Show (pictured right), Alphabet blocked Google’s sister company, YouTube, from being displayed on the Amazon devices. Initial reports came out saying the new hardware had the codename Manhattan, which has been upgraded to Quartz, it is unsure yet if this will be the devices name. These rumours follow Google’s huge release earlier this month on EIGHT new hardware devices. So it appears the hardware team at Google is keeping busy.
So far the device will apparently have a similar size display of around 7 inches to the Amazon device, Quartz will also have functions on top of the pre-existing Google Home, such as calls, display Google Photos and also control smart home devices, as well as the use of YouTube. Further reports claim they may be working on a larger screened device.
With news about Google’s Choice to copy Amazon hardware, and the MANY times Amazon has copied features from Google Software, we hope its only a matter of time until Amazon FINALLY bring Alexa to Australian Market

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Voice Controls For Google & Youtube

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Youtube and Google Home are both under the Alphabet Company umbrella, so it baffled many why users of Google Home and Google Assistant could not control their Youtube stream to their media devices via Chromecast.
Users are no longer frustrated by this seemingly simple problem. The latest Google Home update has enabled Youtube to become one of the few video services, supported by the Google Home controls, alongside the likes of Netflix and Google Photos.
To access this latest feature you can set up the default Chromecast device in the Google Home settings.

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Google Home Mini, spying rumors

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By now, you have probably heard all the talk and news going around about Google Home Mini, listening to users conversations and recording it. But we want to set the record straight.
SOME of the new Google Home Mini devices have a fault with the SPECIALLY designed fabric that Google themselves made new thread for it to be touch sensitive. This was Google’s big mistake. The touchable fabric controls are a little TOO SENSITIVE and can activate the Mini’s controls WITHOUT a person controlling or commanding it to do so. Therefore the Mini would always be listening. Lucky for consumers, this was discovered by an unfortunate user who found his entire conversation in print through Chromecast on his TV.
Once Google was aware of the situation they ran a software update PERMANENTLY disabling the touch controls feature on all Google Home Mini’s. It threw a large spanner in the works for the Mini. But be rest assured, the Google Home Mini is still very much functional and is definitely NOT SPYING ON YOU.

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