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Who wins the smart home wars, Apple or Google?

Looking for a little more technology in your life… and home? You may soon get your wish, as Google and Apple are said to be announcing their respective forays into smart home technology. What is smart home technology or home automation?

The latest smart home technology will amaze you. (Credit: Meme Generator)

The latest smart home technology will amaze you. (Credit: Meme Generator)

For now, each tech giant plans to give home owners control of their security systems, lighting and even appliances through their smartphones or tablets. Could this be the start of Jetson-like homes that do all the work for us—from turning on the lights when we enter to having dinner on the table when we get home? Read more

Google acquisitions include Nest Labs smart home company and military robotics

Credit: grantsewell

Credit: grantsewell

Back in December, the Google acquisitions of several robotics companies, including military robotics producer Boston Dynamics, which created “Big Dog” and other YouTube favorite robots, created for the military, made the news to such an extent that even Stephen Colbert got in on the conversation in “Google’s robot acquisition.” Responding to what Google might want with robotics companies like Boston Dynamics, Colbert responded jokingly, “Clearly, to enslave humanity, because that is the only way they can get us to sign up for Google+.” The Internet went wild with jokes about Skynet, the sentient artificial intelligence that wages war on humanity in the “Terminator” franchise. And on January 13, 2014, Google continued with a new branch of acquisitions: it purchased Nest Labs, a company that makes Internet connected smoke alarms and thermostats in “smart homes.” Read more

Google vs. Siri: How conversational search will change online search engines

One day kids will not be able to tell you what a "card catalog" is, and it might be sooner than later.

One day kids will not be able to tell you what a “card catalog” is, and it might be sooner than later.

Long, long ago, in a land, far, far away people used to search for information in something called a library, using books and card catalogs and something cutting edge known as microfiche. Ask a Gen Xer about it sometime and listen to them wax poetic about their days hanging in library carrels with stacks of books, but watch it, or they will get off topic and start in on their album collections and how caller id ruined prank phone calls.

Today, the vast majority of us conduct all our research, from where to go for the best fish tacos to how to get help writing that research paper, through the Internet, and, most likely, our search engine of choice is Google. The company is so dominant that “googling” was added to the Oxford English Dictionary in 2006 as a verb meaning to find information. But nobody stays on top forever, and Google’s reign may come to an end sooner, rather than later, if Apple and conversational search technology has anything to say about it. Read more