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Google tackles Chromecast wi-fi blasting bug

Google has released a fix for a bug in Chromecast and Android devices which could temporarily knock out home wi-fi networks. The problem emerges when Chromecast and Google Home devices wake from their low power “sleep” state. When waking, the devices can transmit more than 100,000 packets of data, quickly overwhelming home routers. Router makers have also produced patches to help their devices cope with similar massive data surges. Router repair On its support page acknowledging the bug, Google said the problem was part of the Cast software found on…

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Apple and Google buses under fire in Silicon Valley

Buses used to transport Apple employees to their offices have been attacked, with windows smashed, possibly by people using pellet guns. There have been several such attacks on the morning and evening commutes to and from Apple headquarters in the Californian city of Cupertino. Some news outlets report that the firm has sent an email to employees, saying buses are now being rerouted. Local news website SFGate reported that a Google bus had also been targeted. There have been no reported injuries and there is no suggestion that the perpetrator…

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CES 2018: Amazon Alexa v Google Assistant fight gets fierce

If victory belongs to whoever’s virtual assistant can interact with the most unlikely range of household appliances, then Amazon has already won. The firm’s voice-activated digital helper has been added to a bathroom mirror that can – via cloud service Kohler Konnect – pass commands to smart kitchen taps, a shower system and even a smart toilet. “That means ‘Alexa, ask Kohler to flush my toilet’ is something you might end up saying in the near future,” mused Blair Hanley Frank at news site Venturebeat. Who needs a copy of…

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Amazon backs down in Google streaming spat

Amazon has started selling Google’s Chromecast devices two years after it originally removed them from its store. Amazon said it removed them to end customer confusion about which services were available on which device. Analysts said it was because they let people watch services that competed with Amazon’s Prime Video. Google retaliated by blocking access to YouTube on some Amazon gadgets and threatening further restrictions. In September, Google stopped YouTube playing on the Amazon Echo Show. It said it took the step because the way Amazon got the video-sharing service…

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Google to open artificial intelligence centre in China

Google is deepening its push into artificial intelligence (AI) by opening a research centre in China, even though its search services remain blocked in the country. Google said the facility would be the first its kind in Asia and would aim to employ local talent. Silicon Valley is focusing heavily on the future applications for AI. China has also indicated strong support for AI development and for catching up with the US. Research into artificial intelligence has the potential to improve a range of technologies, from self-driving cars and automated…

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'Meghan Markle' and 'fidget spinners' top UK Google search

“Meghan Markle”, fiancee to Prince Harry, has been revealed by Google as the top most searched term in the UK for 2017. It puts the royal bride-to-be ahead of “iPhone 8” and “Hurricane Irma” in the list of top search terms. The Manchester bombing and Grenfell Tower also featured in the top 10. The UK election featured heavily in the list of top “What is…?” queries, with people asking about a hung Parliament and the Democratic Unionist Party. “Bitcoin” became one of the year’s buzzwords and “What is Bitcoin?”, “How…

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Google Amazon row leads to restricted YouTube access

Google plans to stop Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices being able to use YouTube from the start of 2018. The search giant has also blocked a workaround that Amazon introduced to restore YouTube access to a screen-based version of its smart speaker. Experts say the steps mark an escalation of a business row in which consumers have been caught up in the fallout. Amazon had previously stopped selling several of Google’s hardware products. It removed the latest Nest-branded smart home kit – including a home security system and a new…

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