• Facebook, Google and Amazon are eager to get their new devices under your tree. But will they give away your privacy?If you’ve so far withstood the temptation to install a smart speaker in your home, worried about the potential privacy pitfalls and a bit embarrassed about the notion of chatting aimlessly to an inanimate object, brace yourselves. This Christmas, the world’s biggest tech giants, including Amazon, Google and Facebook, are making another bid for your living room, announcing a range of new devices that resemble tablets you can talk to.Facebook’s is called Portal, Google’s the Home Hub, and Amazon has unveiled the second version of its Echo Show

  • Heating controller cheaper than previous model and consumers will not require a boiler engineer to install itGoogle’s latest smart-home product is a cheaper smart thermostat that anyone can install themselves without the need for a boiler engineer.The new £199 Nest E learning thermostat is a two-part system consisting of a battery-powered heating controller called the Heat Link E, which replaces an existing wired thermostat or heating controller, and a smart thermostat that can be placed somewhere else in your home.Nest Learning Thermostat third-gen: the simple, effective heating gadget Continue reading

  • Excellent smart device comes with optional 24/7 video recording with facial recognition – and works as a doorbell too Google’s new Nest Hello is a video doorbell that aims to be smarter than the rest with constant recording, face and object recognition.The Hello is a direct replacement for a wired doorbell, working with an existing chime and requiring constant power, making it one of the high-end options for smart doorbells.The Nest app runs you through full installation instructions that you can’t skip, even if you’ve had an electrician install the doorbell for you. Tedious

  • The energy used in our digital consumption is set to have a bigger impact on global warming than the entire aviation industryIt was just another moment in this long, increasingly strange summer. I was on a train home from Paddington station, and the carriage’s air-conditioning was just about fighting off the heat outside. Most people seemed to be staring at their phones – in many cases, they were trying to stream a World Cup match, as the 4G signal came and went, and Great Western Railway’s onboard wifi proved to be maddeningly erratic. The trebly chatter of headphone leakage was constant

  • US tech giant admits audit of Foxconn factory in Hengyang found irregularitiesAmazon has admitted that thousands of agency workers who make its Echo smart speakers and Kindles in China were hired and paid illegally.The US giant issued a statement regretting “issues of concern” following an investigation by the Observer and the US-based China Labor Watch into the “unethical and illegal” working conditions at its supplier factory in Hengyang. Related: Underpaid and exhausted: the human cost of your Kindle Continue reading

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