You can now ask Google Assistant to preheat your oven or check if the dishes are clean

Image: jason henry/mashable

Google’s Assistant just learned some new kitchen tricks.

Ahead of Google’s I/O developer conference, GE has announced its full suite of Wi-Fi-connected smart appliances can now be controlled with Google Assistant, the voice-enabled digital assistant that lives in Google Home.

The announcement comes a year after GE integrated Amazon Alexa voice commands with its smart appliances using the Geneva Alexa skill.

Google Assistant integration works the same as it does with Alexa, and you can ask it to do things like preheat the oven, or check if the dishes are clean, or make hot water.

Examples of some voice commands you can use include:

  • “OK Google, ask Geneva Home to preheat the oven to 350 degrees.”

  • “OK Google, ask Geneva Home if the dishes are clean.”

  • “OK Google, ask Geneva Home to make hot water.”

  • “OK Google, ask Geneva Home to set the oven timer for 10 minutes.”

Want a preview of how GE’s Assistant-controlled appliances work IRL? Take a look at the below video for GE’s Alexa-controlled smart appliances and swap out “Alexa” with “OK Google” and that’s basically it.

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“You feel like every little moment is precious and you don’t want to waste it doing a whole bunch of things in the kitchen,” says the mom in the video. “All of the features that are on our appliances… you probably wouldn’t think would add that much value to our life, but it’s the little time that really adds up that really adds value to your day.”

GE says voice controls using Alexa and Google Assistant will help make lives simpler and more convenient, especially for busy people. 

“Having a connected home… it just buys you time,” says the dad in the above video. Indeed, it does. While I don’t own any smart appliances, I do own an Amazon Echo. And every time I use Alexa to turn on my smart lights, or tell me the weather, or play music while I’m brushing my teeth or cooking in the kitchen, I think of how much time I’m saving with voice controls.

“Everyone’s busy these days and our consumers are looking for simpler and more convenient ways to control their home, especially when busy in the kitchen or working around the house,” says Liz VerSchure, vice president responsible for GE Appliances connected strategy. “Integrating our full suite of connected appliances with the Google Assistant makes it easier for owners to control their appliances and get on with their day.”

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Todoist launches a deep integration with Google Calendar


Todoist is quite a powerful task manager, but it didn’t communicate with your calendar until now. If you’re a Google Calendar user and want to check your tasks and events for tomorrow, you currently have to check both Google Calendar and Todoist. This is about to change as Todoist is launching a deep two-way integration between Todoist and Google Calendar.

After hooking up your Todoist account with Google Calendar, your tasks are going to show up in your calendar if they have a due date. If you also entered a specific time of the day, you’ll see an event in your calendar. Recurring tasks will create multiple events.

After that, you can click on your calendar events, edit them, move them around and everything will be synchronized back to Todoist. This way, you get a calendar view of your tasks… in your calendar. It’s also a good way to let other people add stuff to your calendar thanks to shared projects.

If you have a ton of tasks and don’t want to clutter your calendar, you can choose to enable the integration for a project in particular. And that’s about it.

I’m not a fan of mixing your calendar events with your tasks, but I know that many people like to handle both in the same interface. As long as you’re a Google Calendar user, Todoist is now making that easier.

Google IO 2017: Watch Live Video of Google’s Big Show Right Here

Every year, thousands of Google developers gather at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California for Google IO, the company’s biggest developer show of the year. Google executives take the stage to show the latest tools, features, and updates coming to all of the company’s products.

The keynote address starts at 10 am Pacific (1 pm Eastern) on Wednesday, May 17. The video player at the top of this page will start showing the live feed about an hour before the keynote address begins. We’ll also be running a liveblog filled with commentary and analysis—join in.

What should you expect? Lots of talk about Android, for sure. Google will most likely show enhancements to its mobile operating system, the most-used piece of software in the world that powers close to two billion devices. We’ll also hear about Google’s cloud services, from the corporate end all the way down to the consumer stuff like Gmail. There’s no hotter topic in Silicon Valley than AI, and Google has always been at the forefront of AI research and development. We should definitely expect the company to tell us about how it’s pushing machine learning, voice recognition, and computer vision. Speaking of computer vision, the other hot topic in tech is “mixed reality” (or augmented reality), where real-world images are overlayed with computer imagery. Facebook, Microsoft, and Snapchat are all leading the charge here, so we can expect Google to show some moves as well. Just join us in hoping they don’t bring Google Glass back from the dead.

See the full Google IO 2017 schedule at the company’s website for the event. And join our liveblog for even more insight!

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Google IO 2017 Liveblog: Breaking News From the Live Keynote

Google will be hosting its biggest developer event of the year on Wednesday, May 17. The Google IO 2017 keynote address starts at 10 am Pacific (1 pm Eastern), and we’ll be liveblogging it right here on this page. You can also watch live video of the Google IO 2017 keynote right here on WIRED.

We can expect a flurry of announcements from Google execs, including updates to Android, enhancements to Google’s web apps and cloud services, news about Google’s AI initiatives, and some updates on VR and AR systems that work with your Android phone.

You may be wondering why we’re liveblogging an event that’s also being livestreamed. Well, that’s easy: We love liveblogs. There’s no better way than a liveblog to bring you at-the-moment analysis and commentary about each utterance of Google’s executive team. We’ll be liveblogging starting about half an hour before the keynote starts. Join us!

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Appear Here, a marketplace for short-term retail space, raises $12M Series B


Appear Here, a marketplace for short-term retail space that originally launched to ride the ‘pop-up’ shop craze, has raised $12 million in Series B funding.

Leading the round is Octopus Ventures, with participation from Simon Venture Group, and existing investors Balderton, MMC, Meyer Bergman and Playfair Capital. It brings total funding for the company to $21.4 million, according to CrunchBase.

Founded in London in 2013 by then-20-year-old Ross Bailey with the support of Forward Partners (the idea-stage and seed investor that offers operational support to burgeoning founders), Appear Here offers a marketplace for short-term retail space.

The idea is to connect brands, retailers, designers and entrepreneurs with available space, and as frictionless as possible and all done online. The company launched first in the U.K., but has since expanded to France, and most recently New York in the U.S.

“With our international expansion, we’re excited to continue to build deep relationships in the top retail cities around the world,” says founder and CEO Ross Bailey, in a statement. “Appear Here is the world leader at what we do and this is the perfect time for us to scale. We’ve got offices in London, Paris and New York, and now we’re looking forward to launching more tools and opening up new locations for our growing community to take their ideas to the next level”.

To date, the startup says its marketplace has been used by more than 80,000 brands, including the likes of Nike, Loewe, Givenchy, Coca-Cola, Net-a-Porter, and Kanye West, and a raft of independents — the whole idea is to lower the barrier for a brand or startup wanting to have a temporary brick ‘n’ mortar presence, after all. Meanwhile, more than 4,000 “exclusive spaces” have been listed.

Apple has started assembling iPhones in India

Apple has started assembling phones in India, completing a first trial run with the manufacture of its cheapest handset, the iPhone SE. This first step into the Indian market has been a long time coming, but Apple confirmed today to The Wall Street Journal that production has finally begun. The handsets are being assembled by Taiwanese contractor Wistron and will begin shipping to Indian customers some time this month.

It’s significant news for Apple, which is looking to establish itself in the Indian market as the growth of its iPhone business slows down. But to succeed in India, with its population of 1.3 billion, the company faces a number of challenges. It first needs to meet a requirement in Indian law that single-brand retailers source 30 percent of their components locally, and then it will need to bring the price of its devices down.

The average smartphone in India costs around $155, according to research firm IDC, while the iPhone SE starts at $399. India’s phone market is currently dominated by Chinese manufacturers which account for more than 50 percent of smartphone sales. Samsung is the single largest brand, controlling a little over a quarter of the market, while Apple’s market share is not much more than 2 percent.

Assembling iPhones in India will help Apple meet local-sourcing requirements. And the move should also endear the company to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been pushing for more local manufacturing jobs under his “Make in India” initiative.

But bringing down the price of the iPhone will be a more challenging proposition. The WSJ reports that the iPhone SE is currently sold by India resellers for $320, but that government officials hope this price will drop by $100. Apple has traditionally been loath to reduce its profit margins on the iPhone, though, and has compensated for slowing unit sales by making more money on each device. The company will have to think about whether the promise of the India market is worth a change in tactics.

Delta sees a future where you use your face to help check your bags

Why it matters to you

Studies show self-service bag drops could help speed up the check-in process at airports.

Waiting to check bags at best is frustrating, and at worst can make you miss your flight. If you ever thought you could do it by yourself, Delta may soon give you the chance to try it out. This summer, Delta will begin testing self-service bag drop machines, and one of the machines is being equipped with facial recognition technology.

There is scant information on how the machines could work, but it will involve a customer’s face being scanned to match it to the passport photo associated with the ticket to verify identity. A digital rendering of the machines shows an opening where the bags will presumably be taken to be sorted once you are done checking them. The first test will occur this summer at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

Delta aims for these machines to enable you to check your own bags, which should mean the machines will weigh the luggage and allow you to pay any associated fees directly from the machine, although that was not specified. Delta hopes these types of machines will help more than just the customers who use them. “We see a future where Delta agents will be freed up to seek out travelers and deliver more proactive and thoughtful customer service.” said Gareth Joyce, Delta’s senior vice president of airport customer service and cargo, in a press release announcing the news.

While Delta wants to use your face to help you check your bags quicker, it will not be the first. Napoli International Airport in Italy recently implemented Rockwell Collins’ M Series Plus self-service bag drop machines. The machines allow customers to weigh and tag their bags, as well as pay. There is no facial recognition technology used, so identity verification is handled the old-fashioned way with passport/ID scanners. So far, EasyJet is the only airline that is using the machines at the airport.

Self-service bag drops may be the future, but other airlines have recently begun implementing facial recognition to keep customers safe. Ottawa International Airport began implementing facial recognition in kiosks to verify a traveler’s identity this spring. Last year, John F. Kennedy International Airport started using facial recognition to help verify the identity of travelers using electronic passports.

Delta will use the feedback it gets during the trial run of these self-bag-drop machines to see how much they help. Let’s hope the face of bag checking is about to change.

Huawei Nova 2: News and rumors

Why it matters to you

The original Huawei Nova smartphone had a few problems, but the sequel is shaping up to cure several of them.

The Huawei Nova and Nova Plus were announced in September 2016, and while we appreciated the beautiful minimalist design and excellent camera, we weren’t quite so taken with the shaky software and high price. Rumors are spreading Huawei is preparing the Nova 2 range for release, and it may come sooner rather than later. Here’s everything we think we know about them so far.

Design

A series of promotional posters leaked on the Chinese social network Weibo may give us a clue about the Nova 2’s design. If the images are accurate portrayals of the Nova 2’s design, then it’s clear Huawei is taking plenty of inspiration from the P10 and P10 Plus, including the use of two camera lenses.

This leaked poster shows up to four different colors — a green, a pink, a blue, and possibly a black model. Huawei used blue and green to great effect on the P10, where it worked with color experts Pantone to come up with the looks. It’s not clear if the black Nova 2 in the image is the same color all over, as only the front is pictured.

A closer look at the phone shows the Nova 2 may use the same antenna band layout as the P10, where it curves around the top and bottom of the device. A fingerprint sensor is mounted on the rear panel, which shifts away from the P10’s design, and repeats the look of the original Nova.

Before the poster leak, a phone said to be the Nova 2 passed through the TENAA industry regulator in China, and the pictured device looks identical to the one shown in the promo posters.

Specs

The Nova series phones are midrange devices, so expect the sequels to feature similar specs. The Nova 2 is rumored to have a 5.2-inch screen, slightly larger than the original’s 5-inch display, with a 1920 x 1080 pixel resolution. It’s possible Huawei won’t use another Qualcomm Snapdragon processor — the Snapdragon 625 is inside the Nova — and instead swap it for one of its own Kirin 658 chips, also used in the P10 Lite.

Huawei has mastered the art of dual-camera lenses on its phones, and looks to continue the trend on the Nova 2. Rumors place the rear cameras at 12 megapixels each, bringing them more in line with the Honor 8 Pro, than the P10. Around the front, the Nova 2 may have a 20-megapixel selfie camera. A 3,000mAh battery may power the device.

Although nothing has been rumored, we’re hoping the Nova 2 phones will have Android 7.0 Nougat with the revitalized and vastly improved EMUI user interface on board.

Release date and price

In 2016, Huawei launched the Nova phones during the IFA technology trade show in Berlin. Despite the Nova phones being less than a year old, a teaser image has been spotted online indicating the Nova 2 series may arrive on May 26. While it’s possible, Huawei is holding an event on May 24, which will reveal the new MateBook, rather than new smartphones.

What may happen, is the new Nova phones will launch only in China, where all the teaser and rumors have focused on at this time. The Nova 2’s price may start at the local equivalent of around $360.

We’ll keep you updated on the Huawei Nova 2 here, so check back often.

11-year-old casually hacks into security experts’ Bluetooth to control teddy bear

Kids are really precocious these days but this is something else. 

An 11-year-old has shocked an audience of security experts by casually hacking into their Bluetooth devices to control his robotic teddy bear. No big deal. 

Reuben Paul, sixth-grader genius from Austin, Texas, travelled to a cyber-security conference in the Netherlands in order to stun hundreds of IT experts who were live-tweeting the miracle in awe. 

“From airplanes to automobiles, from smartphones to smart homes, anything or any toy can be part of the Internet of Things (IoT),” he told the audience of the World Forum in The Hague.  

“From terminators to teddy bears, anything or any toy can be weaponised.”

People were seriously star-struck: 

How did he do that? 

His bear, named Bob, is connected to to the cloud via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth to receive and send messages. 

In order to manipulate it, Reuben plugged into his laptop a device known as a “Raspberry Pi”, a tiny, low-cost computer. Then, he scanned the hall for Bluetooth devices and downloaded dozens of numbers. 

Using the Python language, he proceeded to hack into his bear via one of the numbers and turned on Bob’s lights and recorded audio. 

“Most internet-connected things have a Bluetooth functionality … I basically showed how I could connect to it, and send commands to it, by recording audio and playing the light,” he told AFP

“IoT home appliances, things that can be used in our everyday lives, our cars, lights refrigerators, everything like this that is connected can be used and weaponised to spy on us or harm us.”

Reuben, who when he was just 8 delivered the closing keynote address at the 2014 Houston Security Conference, later tweeted that his mission was to warn people how Internet of Things devices could easily be hacked:

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