Google Home Hub

Earlier this year, Google announced its Smart Displays, a counterpart to Amazon’s Echo Show devices. JBL and Lenovo started to test the market. Now Google launches the Google Home Hub, a smart display from their own house on the market. For the time being, however, only for the USA, Great Britain and Australia.

Google Home Hub

Technical details

The Google Home Hub comes with a 7 inch touch screen display. So you have exactly the same display diagonal as the first generation Echo Show, the second generation comes with a 10 inch display. Of course Google relies on the in-house Google Assistant and also a cast function should be on board. A camera is not built into the Google Home Hub, which Google expresses with data protection reasons. Here I like the solutions of the other Smart Displays better where a flap can simply be pushed in front of the camera. Due to the omitted camera only calls and no video chats are possible.

Features

With Youtube, Google Photos, Google Calendar and Google Maps, Google already has a number of established and mature applications on the market, which are logically supposed to be available on the Google Home Hub as well. Just what the networkability with (Android-) Smartphones represents, Google will definitely set new standards here – here I see great potential. Also a Smart Home control is possible (not only by speech) but also by touch operation. Here already the Google Assistant on the Smartphones gave an outlook how this will look like. Also on board here: Google’s Voice Match to differentiate between different people based on their voice. Here it becomes exciting how the device can be personalized depending upon person.

Price & Availability

It is not yet possible to say anything about the availability in Germany. The Google Home Hub will be available in the USA, UK and Australia from 22 October at a price of USD 149 in white, black, green and rose. Included are 6 months Youtube Premium subscription. For Germany we can expect a price around 150€. To the comparison: The Echo Show lies from the UVP on 230€.

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Google Home, the voice assistant to control your home

Google had been revolving around the field of home automation for years, with Android Home, abandoned, the purchase of Revolv, also abandoned, and the purchase of Nest, for its range of connected objects dedicated to the home. His announcement last week at the I/O 2016 conference to launch a voice assistant for the home is therefore not really a surprise, especially since rumors were circulating about a project called Chirp. Finally its definitive name will be Google Home.

Just like Google Now, which wants to be your voice assistant for your smartphone, Google Home will be your voice assistant for your home. But much more powerful, since Google Home relies on Google’s new voice assistant, using artificial intelligence, allowing it to handle the most complex issues quickly and accurately. He would even be able to answer questions on two levels, using the answer to a first question as a basis for a second, in the same way that Siri does on AppleTV for film research.

Google-Home-1

A demonstration was even made where the presenter showed a work to Google via the camera of his smartphone: Google Home then identified the work and gave more information about the artist.

The result of 10 years of work on natural language recognition and 17 years of research and innovation, Google clearly announces that its assistant will be better than the others! In view of the demonstration, it is in any case very promising. But others are also working on this type of project. The future will undoubtedly be with voice control in the house anyway.

This new device comes in the form of an audio speaker with an integrated loudspeaker and several microphones, all connected via wifi. A simple electrical outlet is therefore sufficient to supply it. The set looks relatively small, and even has a customization: the base can be of different colors.

No screen, no button, everything is done via smartphone or voice commands, via “Ok Google”. The strength of this personal assistant is of course its integration with other Google services: as mentioned above, it will be possible to ask him any question. Home will then rely on the Google search engine, but also on Google Maps and its other services. Thus, by using the Google Calendar calendar, it will be able to communicate the most important elements of your schedule, or to allow you to add more by simple voice command. In the morning, he or she can alert you to possible problems on the road to get to work early, or even warn you of a delay on your flight.

Like the Amazon Echo (of which I will soon propose a test), whose similarity can only be noted, it will also be possible to control its music by voice. Launch your favorite playlist, or a specific track available on Google Play, but also other third-party services, since partnerships have already been announced with Spotify, Pandora, etc… The features can however go further than Amazon’s Echo, since Google Home will also be able to control the Chromecasts, to play a song in stereo, or even play a song in another room. The control of the Chromecast video will even be able to trigger the broadcasting of your favorite program on your TV!

But the control of functions within the house does not stop there, since Google Home is positioned as the user interface of the connected house, serving as a relay to control its objects connected directly by voice. Nest devices will of course be supported, and partnerships are already underway to support other connected objects. We don’t have any more details about this, or even about the supported protocols. Wifi and Bluetooth for sure, and probably the Thread protocol, pushed by Google for some time. No information about possible support for Z-wave, ZigBee, or other protocol.

The functions of Google Home will not stop at home, since external services should also be integrated, to order a pizza, call a taxi, order flowers, etc…. Everything will of course depend on the partnerships concluded, and the developers’ willingness to create new applications. Because Google of course opens its platform to developers, the success of such a device based on the available applications.

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Facebook: the smart speaker unveiled by a patent?

Facebook would prepare a speaker connected in the same way as Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod and Google Home for several months. However, until now, no image of the device had been revealed. Today, a patent filed by the American firm seems to illustrate this intelligent loudspeaker.

For two years now, connected speakers have been in fashion. Amazon launched its Echo range compatible with the Alexa voice assistant, Google launched its Google Home with its own Assistant, and Apple replicated with its HomePod carrying Siri.

facebook enceinte connectée

Since August 2017, it has been rumored that Facebook also plans to enter this market with its own speaker connected. The device would be codenamed Portal, and would be marketed for a price of around $499.

Facebook: a connected speakerphone dedicated to video conversations on Messenger
Not surprisingly, Facebook’s smart speaker would be mainly dedicated to video conversations on Messenger and social features. However, it would also carry a voice assistant, although it is not known which one at the moment.

facebook enceinte brevet

In February 2018, new rumors appeared on the web that two different models would be launched in July 2018. The two devices, codenamed Fiona and Aloha respectively, would be equipped with a 15-inch touch screen and a front camera with facial recognition technology.

In April 2018, a patent seems to reveal the design of these connected speakers. Submitted by Facebook in December 2016, the document has just been published on the web. However, the electronic device illustrated by this patent does not appear to be equipped with cameras or touch screens…

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DIY projects in 2018

It has been more than two years now that I have been sharing my passion for DIY with you through various articles & videos on the site. The “homemade” will continue to take up a little more space, you seem to like it, it’s good because so am I.

Doing new projects is good but finishing the ones we started is even better, so here is the list of what we will do together in the coming months.

DIY projects in 2018

Portable console v2

First of all, I will start finishing the Portable Console v2 project. It takes time because I am looking for the best compromise between ease, time and money so that everyone can achieve it. I still don’t know if the shell will be that of a Gameboy (as I showed on Instagram) or if I’m modifying the shell of the first portable console I made.
Difficulty: Medium

Craftbox

I’m at the end, wow!

I wanted to be clever and take the project a little further by developing a desktop software dedicated to the Craftbox. It took me longer than expected (it’s amazing how long it lasts…) but you should like the result.

I will distribute (for free) this desktop management software of the Craftbox (Windows & Mac version if everything goes well) and everything else will be explained via articles on the site. The Craftbox and its software are almost finished (some bugs to fix yet). I will present you the whole thing in video in a few weeks or so.

The project will continue to evolve over time, mainly the software part.

Difficulty: Medium

FPV Drone

This is one of this year’s very big projects. As with many fields, I didn’t know anything about them and I learned on the job. The idea will be like for the other projects, starting from scratch and managing to make a drone (which flies in addition) with camera (if so!) for only a hundred euros. The first article is already being written, it should be accompanied by a presentation video (I’m not sure about that).

Many notions will be covered such as communication, welding, mechanics, electronics, the subject is really exciting….

Difficulty: Medium/High

Mini bartop

After having made a bartop (arcade terminal) I will propose you to do the same thing but on a smaller scale. It will be a terminal of about twenty centimetres, equipped with a 10 inch screen and nine buttons (in addition to the joystick). Nothing very complicated about that, the goal being to achieve an impeccable result.
Difficulty: Easy

Autonomous outdoor connected weather station

What could be better than having a weather station that you can put where you want? I think it’s such a shame to have to pull cables to power anything.

Here, the project will first charge a Lithium battery with solar energy, which will then power an autonomous circuit with multiple sensors (temperature, humidity, etc.).
The opportunity to touch a little the wonderful world of the Arduino.

Another module (inside) will retrieve the information from this station and display it on a screen and send it to our home automation system.

The project is still under development and requires a lot of time. For the moment, I am already collecting the temperature;)

Difficulty: High, even hairy with a hair base

Arcade bollard

I’m not sure yet if I’ll make this terminal (at least in 2018) which would ultimately be for my gaming room. Basically, I made the bartop so that it didn’t take up too much space in my house but the original idea was to make a real model. It will be necessary to work a little more with wood (finally MDF) but the principle remains essentially identical to bartop.

Difficulty: Medium

Gaming room

The big red thread of 2018! What will be my office, my cinema, my game room… is a huge project that is close to my heart and that I am trying to do little by little. It’s a lot of work but it allows me to learn a lot of things and so I enjoy myself.

The whole thing will be completely automated: light, heating, roller shutter… I will give you the progress little by little and all the ideas, sometimes a little strange, that I had to realize this gaming room. I obviously hope to be able to finish it this year.
An article is already being written.

Difficulty: Multiple but violent nevertheless

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HANK scene controller

Do you know the scene controllers? These are in fact small remote controls that allow you to interact with equipment (live) or with home automation boxes to execute scenarios. Today we have a 4-button HANK scene controller!

Let’s discover together the possibilities they offer to facilitate the management of your devices!

HANK scene controller

Presentation

The HANK scene controller is available in 1 button and 4 buttons. Like a remote control, it allows you to control devices or scenes via the Z-Wave procotole.

It is very small in size and has a rechargeable battery via micro USB port. It should be noted that it does not have any attachment to attach it to keys or even to a wrist strap if this controller is used outside the house (gate, garden, etc…)

The version we use in this test is a 4-button controller. Each button can perform 3 actions:

  • Short press
  • Long press (Hold)
  • Released

This makes a total of 12 actions (3 per button). However, it should be noted that the action maintained is linked to “Released”. This means that as soon as you perform the “Hold” action, the “Release” action will also be played. It is therefore important to choose the scenarios you assign to the keys.

Eedomus

To test the Z-Wave HANK scene controller we will not use scenarios per se but rather a script of the blind we have developed that allows us to manage the light intensity of a dimming bulb! As it has 4 buttons, we will be able to:

  • Turn on the light
  • Turn off the light
  • Increase the intensity by 10%.
  • Reduce the intensity by 10%.

To do this, go to “Configuration” then “Add or delete a device” and go to “Store eedomus”.

In the parameters :

Device to be controlled: Choose the Dimmer module

Controller device: The HANK remote control

Value +,-,on,off : Define the values of each button on the remote control. Let’s say: 1,2,3,4
Just save and that’s it! The script will automatically generate a rule for incrementing the brightness. All you have to do is test it by pressing the buttons on your remote control.

The advantage is that even if the 4 buttons are used for something, as for our script, it will also be possible to control 8 more devices!

Because as I told you, this remote control has 3 functions per button: Pressed, released and held. So you can control another scenario by pressing one of the buttons for a long time and control an equipment by releasing it.

Jeedom

On jeedom we will go a little further. We will create three scenes, each of which will be associated with an action:

  • Pressed: Turns on the lights
  • Released: Turns off the lights
  • Maintained: Google home talking to say “I turn off the lights”

First, you must know the value that your device will have in each of the actions. On the four buttons, the tens digit corresponds to the button ID (1,2,3,4) and the units in the status:

  • 0 : Short press
  • 1 : Maintained
  • 2 : Released

To find these values, simply go to the advanced configuration to see the device values.

You will then see the correct number to display in the “Scene” line

Alternatively, you can also display the commands on your dashboard.

It’s even easier since you just have to tick “Show” in the commands.

Now it’s time for our scenario! We will use the Gcast plugin to make our Google Home talk.

To properly detail the configuration, we will use 3 If/Else. In the first case, if the button is pressed, then the light is turned on.

Direct association

For the direct association, yes and no. Because it is possible to control Z-Wave devices directly without using a controller (Box) but it is not possible to associate devices without a box with this scene controller. So let’s talk about “Direct control”.

So we will use an eedomus box and go to the HANK device settings.

Then go to “Z-Wave Settings” and enter these values:

  • Order class: Association
  • Command name: SET Association
  • Group: The one of your choice (refer to the manual)
  • Node: The device you want to control directly
  • Notes : If you want a note to remind you of certain things

Once this is done, you can then control your device easily and much faster than with a controller.

For our dimmer module, one pressure turns the lamp on, a second pressure turns it off. And when you leave the button pressed, the intensity of the light varies (depending on what you have on the eedomus).

You can then hold to decrease the intensity of the light and release when you have found what is right for you.

Conclusion

This Hank scene controller is a good product. Small discreet and rechargeable by Micro Usb plug which avoids having to replace the batteries. The different actions possible on each button make it possible to have a compact device with many features.

The design is simple but relatively well finished. However, the absence of a key ring bracket or even a wall bracket other than a single double-sided adhesive is regrettable. It still remains an excellent scene controller that can be easily configured.

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The flash sale of GearBest

GearBest is one of the most popular Chinese online stores in Spain, and not for less, as the firm is characterized by its serious treatment and products at the best prices. On this occasion we have a new round of so-called flash sales, offers of practically momentary duration in which we can see devices at crazy prices.

But what does this flash come out in GearBest so special? Among other things, that we can find a lot of items of the most disparate among them, such as Xiaomi or Ulefone mobiles, sports headphones, Android TV boxes as well as mini PCs, 3D printers and even radio control trucks. So why don’t we take a look at the best deals!

Android TV Box destacada

MINIX TV Box

If you are looking like crazy TV Boxes for your television, then you have found the right option. These MINIX devices have some of the best features on the market, in addition to great variety in its repertoire. Without going any further, we have the MINIX NEO U9 with Android 6.0.1 for 145 dollars.

Xiaomi Aqara series

Have you always wanted to turn your house into a smart home but thought that was a thing of the future? You couldn’t be more wrong, as Xiaomi comes to the rescue with its line of Aqara devices. These include Aqara Light Control, a light switch that detects when you get up to turn on the lights, or automatically turns them all off wherever you are, all for just 23 dollars.

bq-impresora-3d

3D Printer

3D printers have experienced an incredible price drop over the last few months, so now is the perfect time to grab one of these devices of the future. If you want to spend the minimum but need a 3D printer that meets your basic needs, then the Anet A8 is ideal for just 163 dollars.

All this and more you can find in the latest flash comes out of GearBest, but hurry, because the offers don’t last long.

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