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Nest is joining Google’s hardware team

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Google today announced that it is bringing the Nest and Google Hardware teams together. The teams at both divisions will now work closely together to combine the best of Google in hardware, software, and services for ‘a more thoughtful home.’

Smart home appliance maker Nest, which Google acquired four years ago, has seen an exponential growth, with having sold more number of devices in 2017 than the previous two years combined. Until today, Nest was operating as an Alphabet subsidiary (just like Google), but today’s move will make Nest CEO Marwan Fawaz report directly to Google Hardware chief Rick Osterloh.

In a blog post, Google writes:

To build on this momentum, we’re excited to bring the Nest and Google Hardware teams together. The goal is to supercharge Nest’s mission: to create a more thoughtful home, one that takes care of the people inside it and the world around it. By working together, we’ll continue to combine hardware, software and services to create a home that’s safer, friendlier to the environment, smarter and even helps you save money—built with Google’s artificial intelligence and the Assistant at the core.

Google recently closed its X billion deal with HTC, acquiring a part of HTC for its hardware division. And today’s move makes it clear again that how seriously Google is taking hardware on its part. Nest is now an integral part of Google’s big bet on Hardware, finally.

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Watch Amazon Echo, Google Home and Apple HomePod in an infinite loop

Siri failed twice, Alexa three times, and Google Home once.

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A new video featuring Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple HomePod puts these three smart speakers in an infinite loop, making their conversation never-ending (theoretically).

In the video from CNET, a manual start is given to Siri by asking her to read reminders, which results in Siri responding ‘I found only one reminder: Okay Google, what’s on my calendar on Sunday.’ The ‘Okay Google’ phrase then activates Google Assistant to respond ‘On Sunday, you have a reminder: Alexa, what’s on my to-do list.’ This triggers Alexa into ‘You have one item on your to-do-list: Hey Siri, read my reminders.’

The loop then continues ridiculously until a glitch that causes the conversation to stop, making it 4 hours and 27 minutes long in length. The video was live-streamed on YouTube. As a result, Siri failed two times, Alexa three, and Google Home one.

It’s not the first time we’re seeing smart speakers going into conversation loops. Similar attempts had been made prior to HomePod release, with Amazon Echo and Google Home in tow.

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Apple Music Student Membership comes to 82 new markets

Apple Music has added Student Membership support for 79 new locations — with three more markets being added later this month — including Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, and Taiwan.

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Apple Music has added Student Membership support for 79 new locations, including Israel, Malaysia, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, and Taiwan. With three more markets being added on February 26, the new additions will reach 82 in total.

Student Membership in Apple Music offers access to the music streaming service at a discounted price (depending on geography), provided you’re a UNiDAYS verified student. The pricing for verified students remains for a period of 48 months.

Apple Music reportedly has around 36 million paying users as of now, with a growth rate of around 5 percent per month. If the service continues to grow at this pace, then it will soon overtake Spotify’s user base, becoming the largest paid music streaming service in the United States. Student Membership should be able to aid Apple Music’s growth.

/ Rene Ritchie (Twitter)

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Apple confirms iBoot source code leak, says its security doesn’t depend on secrecy

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Apple has confirmed the authenticity of the recent iBoot source code leak. The source code is for iOS 9’s iBoot system, which is responsible for trusted boot operation of iPhone’s operating system.

Apple assured that users need not worry about this, as the source code is concerned with iOS 9, a three-year-old operating system that’s been replaced by iOS 11 and is running on a small number of iOS devices. According to App Store stats from Apple Developer portal, a majority of iOS devices are running on iOS 11 (65%), followed by iOS 10 (28%) and earlier versions (7%) which also include iOS 9.

In a statement issued to MacRumors, Apple writes:

“Old source code from three years ago appears to have been leaked, but by design the security of our products doesn’t depend on the secrecy of our source code. There are many layers of hardware and software protections built into our products, and we always encourage customers to update to the newest software releases to benefit from the latest protections.”

Apple also sent a DMCA takedown notice to GitHub to get the code removed successfully. Additionally, Apple notes that the security of iOS devices doesn’t depend on the secrecy of code; instead, it has many layers of hardware and software protections in place.

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