Google stops updating third-party smart displays


Google Assistant is one of the most popular smart home assistants of 2023, but it looks like big changes are in store for the remainder of the year. According to an updated support page, Google won’t be pushing any more Assistant updates to select third-party smart displays.

The Lenovo Smart Display, LG Xboom AI ThinQ WK9, and JBL Link View are the three smart displays in question — and if you currently have them in your home, don’t expect to see further updates for their Assistant platform. They will, of course, continue to function as they did before this announcement, but they won’t receive any more software updates to enhance their performance.

The Lenovo Smart Display on a table.

Here’s a look at the official statement from Google:

“Important: Google no longer provides software updates for these third-party Smart Displays: Lenovo Smart Display (7-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch), JBL Link View, and LG Xboom AI ThinQ WK9 Smart Display,” reads the announcement. “This could impact the quality of video calls and meetings.”

Most of these products first went on sale in 2018, making them just about five years old. If you’re looking to pick up a new smart display in light of the news, it might be best to stick with first-party Google products (which should continue to see updates). You could also jump to a new ecosystem like Amazon Alexa.

Google continues to push more effort into the development of Bard, its AI platform, although it’s unclear exactly how (or if) Bard will eventually integrate with the rest of the Assistant smart home platform. Expect to learn more during the Google I/O event next month.

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Apple reportedly working on a new iPad-like smart home display

Someone holding the 12.9-inch version of the iPad Pro (2022).

Apple recently announced a new HomePod with support for Matter, but it seems the company might have bigger smart home plans for the rest of 2023. According to the latest report from Bloomberg, Apple is allegedly working on an iPad-like device that could directly compete with Amazon’s Echo Show and Google’s Nest Hub Max.

Details on the rumored product are scarce, but it seems the device would feature a touchscreen and function similar to an iPad. Magnets would allow it to be mounted to a wall, and HomeKit would give it access to all your smart home products. It’s unclear at this time if the device would feature a stand, allowing it to sit on your countertops like the Echo Show and Nest Hub. What is clear, however, is that Apple wants to gain a stronger foothold in the smart home market — and this could serve as a great alternative to using the HomePod Mini as a HomeKit hub.

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How do smart thermostats work?

Ecobee smart thermostat installed on wall next to woman walking down staircase.

Smart thermostats are quickly becoming a staple of the modern household, offering more versatility and control when compared to traditional thermostats. But how exactly do they work? And are there any disadvantages to upgrading to the fancy new technology? Here’s a closer look at how smart thermometers work, how they can streamline your heating and cooling needs, and how they can save you money.
How does a thermostat work?

Thermostats control how hot or cold your home gets. Before we explain the “smart” part of a smart thermostat, let’s look at the basics of thermostat operation.

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8 Google Assistant settings you should disable or adjust

Google Nest Hub 2nd Gen.

Smart digital assistant devices like Google Nest Audio, Google Nest Hub, and Google Nest Mini continue to grow in popularity, but so too do questions surrounding their handling of your private information. While it’s probably safe to say one of the world’s largest tech companies (or anyone else, for that matter) isn’t listening to everything you say at home, sometimes we still prefer to err on the side of caution. As the saying goes; trust, but verify.

Fortunately, Google has given us the ability to alter privacy settings on Google devices to match our own comfort levels. There are a lot of options and customization selections you can make, and some of these vary by the device you own. Many of them are easy to find — especially if you know what you’re looking for. Here are some Google Assistant settings you should adjust on all your gadgets before integrating them into your home.

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