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What Is The Difference Between Amazon’s Alexa and Echo?

Alexa app screenshot showing both 'Alexa' and 'Echo' listed.

When reading about smart homes, you’ll probably have seen ‘Amazon Alexa’ and ‘Amazon Echo’ used almost interchangeably, but they’re actually quite different. It’s almost like the difference between a guitar player and the guitar… one (the player) uses a tool (the guitar) to do something (play music). An Amazon Echo is a voice activated, internet … Read more

Can We Add Nest Protect To The Google Home App Yet?

The Nest app on the left, and the Google Home app on the right.

If you search for “Nest Protect” – the smart smoke and CO alarm – you’ll be greeted with Google’s logo and the words “Google Nest”. It’s clearly a Google smart home product: So logic would dictate that you can manage Nest Protect in your Google Home app, right? Well, for over half a decade, this … Read more

The Complete List Of All Smart Home Devices (From 2008 Onwards)

A Google Home Mini device placed on a wooden shelving unit

Smart home tech has exploded in popularity over the past decade, and it’s sometimes hard to keep track of every new product which is available – especially when ‘Google Home’ rebranded to ‘Nest’, or when Amazon Echo are up to their 4th generation of certain devices! So that’s where we come in! We have spent … Read more

Blocking Specific Songs On Amazon Echo/Alexa & Google Home

Block annoying songs on Amazon Alexa/Echo or Google Home

If you’re fed up of your child playing “Baby shark” or “I am a gummy bear” over and over, or someone else playing a song that upsets or annoys you, you might be wondering if there’s any way of blocking certain songs through your smart speaker. There are a number of ways to block songs … Read more

Is The Google Mini Dual Voltage? (And Why This Matters)

Official UK power adaptor for Google Nest Mini 2nd generation, showing: "AC adapter Model G1030 Input: 100-240V-0.4A 50-60Hz Output: 14V=1.1A LPS"

If you are travelling or you bought a cheap Google Mini from abroad, you might be wondering whether you are safe to use your Google Home device in another country. Yes, the Google Mini is dual voltage – it supports input electricity from 100V/120V (depending on model) up to 240V. Therefore you should be fine … Read more

Why does my Amazon Echo make random noises?

Phone screenshot showing all activity on registered Amazon Echo/Alexa devices.

Having a smart voice assistant like the Amazon Echo is great due to all the smart home features it offers, but sometimes it seems to ‘wake up’ by itself and play a random noise or sound. Sometimes this sounds like a genuine notification (even though there’s no reason for the notification), whilst other times the … Read more

Does Google Home (& Mini) Need a Music Subscription?

Google Play Music logo

The Amazon Echo offers over two million songs as part of Amazon Prime, but Google doesn’t have a similar membership scheme. Also the ‘small print’ of the Google Mini and Google Nest Mini says that “subscriptions may be required for certain content”. But what exactly does this mean? If you bought a Mini and don’t … Read more

The Definitive History Of Smart Home Devices

Part of the advert poster for the Thor-32, an "electric washing machine with Thor All Metal Swining Wringer". The washing machine is pictured, with some cables and a motor visible at the bottom.

History is littered with incorrect predictions of what smart homes of the future would look like. Whether it was the LA Times Magazine predicting in 1988 that we’d all have robot butlers (I wish this had come true!), or Intel scientist Dean Pomerleau predicting in 2009 that we’d soon be controlling computer systems with our … Read more