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Smart Home

The smart home was once a far-flung pipe dream, but it is now a reality. Wherever you live, your home is ground zero for some of the most interesting tech available right now, and tech that’s yet to come. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get your home up and running with smart hardware and services. Home security and monitoring solutions can alert you to a burglary, smoke, fire, or just simple motion activity. There are plenty of options with a range of capabilities, from smart doorbells and smart locks to indoor and outdoor cameras that can see in the dark. Smart speakers, like the Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod each play a big role in helping you out, too. In the kitchen, they can read out recipes, or if you’re cleaning, you can call out to them to change the song on the fly. If you buy smart light bulbs, for instance, you can turn them on and off by using your voice.

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The new Google Home app is finally here

A much-needed update brings greater control and customizability. Plus, Google updates its iOS app to support Matter devices.

What matters about Matter, the new smart home protocol

Why is Matter such a big deal, and when can you actually use it?

The Verge
Google Home’s iOS app now lets you set up Matter devices.

The update began rolling out on May 26th, according to Google. I got it this weekend, and you need iOS 16.5. and version 3.1 of the Google Home app.

With this update, all four major smart home platforms now work fully with Matter on iOS. This should make it easier to deliver on Matter’s promise of cross-platform compatibility.

“Hey Siri” is about to get chopped in half.

Late last year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman said Apple would change Siri’s invocation phrase to just “Siri” but was unsure about how long that shift might take. Now he says the change will be announced along with everything else we’ll hear about at WWDC next week.

The best robot vacuum you can buy right now

I’ve tested close to 50 robot vacuums. Here are the best, from budget robot vacuums to vacuum / mop hybrids with and without auto-empty docks and other fancy features.

I have never been so convinced that a router was going to come alive and murder me.

This is the Asus ROG Rapture GT-BE98 on display at Computex, and it’s the world’s first quad-band Wi-Fi 7 gaming router, boosting speeds of up to 25,000Mbps. It is also the largest and scariest-looking router I have ever seen in my life.

(Asus representatives confirmed to me that there is no technical reason it needs to look like a giant RGB spider. That was just a design choice.)

The Asus ROG Rapture GT-BE98.
The Asus ROG Rapture GT-BE98.
Photo by Monica Chin / The Verge
BioLite BaseCharge 1500 solar generator review within a review.

My recent live/work experiment in the all-electric VW ID Buzz wouldn’t have been possible without BioLite’s first portable battery and solar panel. It was needed to provide continuous power to my Starlink internet, laptops, phones, and more because the Microbus can’t when parked. The BaseCharge 1500 has some minor quirks, but if it’s specced and priced right for your needs then it’s worth considering.

The Verge’s 2023 Graduation Gift Guide

We found a wide range of gifts that’ll help graduates as they embark upon their next adventure, whether that’s college or a career.

The Verge
I regret to inform you that Matter is still a pain in the butt.

I just picked up a three-pack of Nanoleaf’s new Matter bulbs. They’re brighter and have better colors than the ancient Hue bulbs they’re replacing, but boy howdy. Adding them to Apple Home takes two or three tries; getting them onto Google Home requires a second phone. I’m half an hour into trying to connect the second bulb.

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Wyze, the low-cost leader in the smart home, just got more costly.

The company is increasing the price of its monthly security camera subscription fee Cam Plus from $1.99 to $2.99, citing high credit card fees, cloud storage costs, and investing in AI as reasons (it's all about AI nowadays, amirite?).

Even with the big increase, Wyze still offers one of the most affordable monthly options for cloud-stored video recordings, with Ring starting at $4 a month, Arlo at $5, and Google Nest at $6.

World wired

On ethernet’s 50th anniversary, we’re taking a look at how wiring the entire planet has changed the future forever.