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Tech News Today for October 4, 2016

Tech News for October 4, 2016

Google held its 'Made By Google' event this morning in San Francisco, highlighting its shift towards creating a unified catalogue of devices designed top to bottom in-house. Google started by showing off its new Pixel phone line, confirming many weeks of leaks leading up to the event. Google confirmed that these phones were entirely conceptualized, designed, engineered and tested by Google with HTC’s involvement only in the assembly of the devices. Read more at theverge.com.

Next up, Google showed how the Pixel phones, the first to be DayDream VR compatibile, can be used with its very own VR headset called DayDream View. Where Samsung’s Gear VR is plastic through and through, the View is more cushiony, with a cloth body design that was supposedly designed in collaboration with an unnamed clothing manufacturer. The headset includes a docking space for the external controller, and is set to release in November for $79. Read more at techcrunch.com.

Then we have Google’s next attempt at routing the internet through your home with Google WiFi, a modular approach that allows you to scale WiFi throughout your home by interconnecting the units via its own mesh network. Google WiFi will be smart enough to know which WiFi router you are closest to in order to hand off your connection seamlessly as you move about your home. All of this can be managed through the app on a phone, which includes fine-tuned controls for the devices that connect to WiFi, meaning it suddenly beomes a bit easier to monitor your kid’s connections, without simply deactivating all WiFi for everyone. Google WiFi starts at $129 for a single unit, or $299 for a pack of three. Read more at venturebeat.com.

Next up is the Chromecast Ultra, a 4K capable version of the popular streaming dongle that also includes support for High Dynamic Range along with Dolby Vision’s brand of HDR. With the high bandwidth requirements, some users might opt for ethernet over WiFi that Chromecast is known for, and as such, the Ultra includes an ethernet port out of the box. The Chromecast Ultra will run $69 and launches in November. Read more at arstechnica.com.

And finally, some might consider this the big kahuna: Google Home, first showed off at this year’s Google IO, goes on sale officially today for $129. What you get is an Amazon Echo competitor that utilizes Google’s own Assistant brand of artificial intelligence in a home appliance form factor that looks a lot like a large air freshener. Inside are a bevy of highly tuned microphones for picking up voice actions from far away, full range speakers that promise to outperform those inside the Echo, and of course all of those cloud-computing smarts that Google’s Assistant provides. Home can control smart home devices, play music, answer questions, and a whole lot more. Say goodbye to Google Now, and hello to Assistant going forward. Read more at techcrunch.com.

Jason Howell is joined today by Iain Thompson of The Register to talk about Yahoo Mail's latest blunder while Megan Morrone is covering DreamForce 2016. Tech News Today streams live weekdays at 4PM Pacific, 7PM Eastern at twit.tv/live. You can subscribe to the show and get it on-demand at twit.tv/tnt.

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