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Google conquers more of your smart home with Logitech and Wink


A number of connected home devices already work with Google's smart speaker and today a few more are being added to the fold. Logitech's Harmony line and Wink's lighting gear and thermostats can now be controlled with voice commands from Google Home. "Ok Google, ask Harmony to..." can control your connected speakers, fire up a specific app on Roku, skip forward/backward on content and more for devices that work with Logitech's smart home platform.

You can also use you voice to trigger Harmony's "Good Morning" activity that does things like set Hue lights to a warm color, adjust your thermostat and begin playing music at the same time. Logitech says its Harmony Elite, Companion and Hub smart home tech can be used with up to 270,000 devices. That's a lot of things you can now control with your voice and Google Home. Of course, Harmony devices also play nice with Amazon's Alexa.

If you have a Wink smart home hub, you now have another way to control connected lights and thermostats. That included the company's light bulbs, switches, dimmers and outlets. It's now compatible with Google Home speakers, so all you'd have to do is say "Ok, Google" and follow that up with a voice command. The hub has been compatible with Amazon's Alexa assistant for quite some time -- now you can enjoy the same perks if you have a Home instead of an Echo.

You can tell Google's speaker to switch Wink-connected lights on or off, or to dim or brighten them. If you want to adjust or set the temperature, simply control your thermostat by saying "Ok Google, turn up the temperature by 10 degrees" or "set the temperature to 70 degrees." You'd have to link your speaker with the hub before you can do any of that. But once that's done, you can go wild issuing one command after another.

Google Home and WiFi launch in the UK on April 6th


Google's Home speaker is coming to the UK on April 6th, the company said today. Hosting an event in a makeshift London home, the search giant unveiled its hardware plans for Europe, confirming that the smart speaker will cost £129, undercutting the Amazon Echo by £20. That's not all, though: Google WiFi is also coming to the UK on the same day, starting at £129 for a one pack and £229 for two modules.

The Home launched at Google I/O almost a year ago, but has been only available to US customers since November. However, in the time between launches, the company has localised the smart speaker, integrating a number of news sources tailored specifically for Britons. The BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Sun, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Sky News and Sky Sports are available from launch, with more being added over time.

There will be a lack of third-party services, at least to start with. Google says that it is now allowing UK developers to access its Home development kits and that we'll likely see more integrations in the coming months.

The launch of the Home in the UK sees Google go up against one of its biggest rivals: Amazon. The Echo and Echo Dot has largely had the smart speaker market to itself until now, but the Home — with its intelligent Assistant — builds on top of Google's existing search and AI expertise. It taps into Knowledge Graph, delivers weather updates and keeps you on top of news, while connecting to streaming services like Spotify and Google Music and radio.

Google says the Home and WiFi router will be available via the Google Store, as well as Argos, Dixons, John Lewis and Maplin. The swappable coloured bases will start at £18 for fabric and £36 for metal.



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