When I first heard about the Petnet SmartFeeder, I bristled. How could something so basic as feeding a pet be in search of a smart solution? I deposit a half-cup of dry kibble in my dog's bowl twice daily--done and done. Is no human endeavor sacred? I can see that there are times when an automatic pet feeder makes sense: an unpredictable work schedule, say, or an impromptu invite, either of which could step on the toes of your pet's meal time.
LG has placed its trust on Google Assistant and has given it the power to control its smart appliances. While it teamed up with Amazon earlier this year to give its refrigerators built-in access to Alexa, its partnership with Google is much bigger in scale. Now, you can control any of the company's 87 WiFi-connected smart home appliances by barking out orders through a Google Home speaker or through a compatible iOS or Android smartphone. Once you're done setting voice control up through LG's SmartThinQ app, you can use commands within a Home speaker's range or through a phone to tell your fridge to make more ice or to tell your AC to adjust the temperature. If you have an LG washing machine, you can ask Assistant how much time is still left before your load is done.
In the wake of last week's Google scandal around third-party apps accessing user information, top Republican members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee sent letters to both Alphabet and Apple. The top Republican leaders asked Alphabet CEO Larry Page about the third-party access to user email, while checking in with Apple CEO Tim Cook about access third-party developers might have via the iTunes App Store. The leaders also inquired about the ability of smartphones to listen in on users, something both Mark Zuckerberg has denied and researchers haven't found any evidence of. The thrust of the letter addressed to Tim Cook focuses on the company's assertion that it is committed to user privacy. "However, users have consistently had access to apps through the App Store that you have highlighted as contradictory to Apple's values," the lawmakers wrote, "including Google and Facebook apps.
A link has been posted to your Facebook feed. Amazon acquired another startup this week, the maker of the beloved tech product Eero, a mesh router that improves dead Wi-Fi spots in the home. To that, you might have said, OK, so? But, more importantly, it's an indication of how Amazon wants to go further than just making our homes "smart." It wants to turn our dwellings into the "Amazon Home."
Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission. With smart devices popping up left and right, the rush to go totally Smart House like the '90s Disney Channel movie can get overwhelming. These devices are super helpful, but it'd be nice if smart home life was more personalized, organized, and well, simpler. A Kickstarter campaign aims to simplify smart modern living by transforming everyday objects into smart objects: meet CliQ, the smart wireless sensor that could turn virtually any object into a smart device for truly personalized automation. CliQ is tiny yet mighty -- attach it, assign when and where it works, and violà: previously manual tasks are now automated.