Can I use the Amazon Cloud Cam as a baby monitor?

Best answer: The Amazon Cloud Cam works amazingly well as a connected baby monitor. With its low price, two-way talk features and cloud storage, you’ll be able to keep an eye on your little one no matter where you are.

Amazon: Amazon Cloud Cam ($119)

Get more for less

While many smart baby monitors are just, well, monitors, the Amazon Cintegrationives you a variety of features while still staying around the $100 mark. Right out of the box you’ll get two-way talk, full 1080p HD, intelligent alerts, night vision, and Alexa integration. You can easily add more Cloud Cams to other rooms in your home as well, letting you have peace of mind over more than just your baby.

A cool feature of the Cloud Cam over other baby monitors is that if you’re a Fire TV user, you can simply ask Alexa: Show me the nursery (or whatever you’ve named your camera) and the live view will play on your TV or connected device — so you won’t just be limited to a phone or tablet view.

Using Cloud Cam as a baby monitor

Once you’ve got your Cloud Cam up and running, you don’t need to do much beyond that to use it as a baby monitor. Find your location — either placing it down or mounting it on a wall — plug it in and you’re good to go. You’ll probably want to tweak a few settings to get the camera working well for you, so here are a few things to check out in the Cloud Cam settings:

  • Notifications – Turn this on or off depending on whether you want to receive alerts on your device for motion (or people if you have a cloud subscription)
  • Schedule – Here you can set a schedule for your Cloud Cam to automatically turn on or off
  • Motion Sensitivity – This allows you to change how sensitive alerts for motion will be. Choose either High, Medium, Low, or Disabled.
  • Alexa Notifications – Choose if you want to have your Alexa-enabled device alert you for motion or people notifications.
  • Night Vision – Since you’re using the Cloud Cam as a baby monitor, you’ll most likely want to enable night vision so you have a clear picture in low or no light.

With everything that Cloud Cam has to offer — at a sweet spot of a price — you’ll be hard pressed to find something better to help keep an eye on your little ones. The bonus here over a standard baby monitor is that in a few years when you don’t need it to watch the baby anymore, you can move the Cloud Cam to a more suitable place for home monitoring and get even more bang for your buck.

Oh Baby

Amazon Cloud Cam

$119 at Amazon

Great for watching security and peace of mind,

The Amazon Cloud Cam not only makes for a great, inexpensive security camera but also a great, inexpensive baby monitor. With live viewing, two-walk talk, notifications, and cloud storage, it’s hard to find a better combination of brains and brawn at this price point.

Xbox One X vs. PlayStation 4 Pro: Which should you buy?

We’re a bunch of nerds and avid video game lovers. Console wars aside, we love both Xbox and PlayStation, and we want to show you what makes each so great.

Xbox One X

Most powerful console on the market

$500 at Best Buy

Pros

  • More powerful
  • Xbox Game Pass cheaper than PlayStation Now
  • Xbox Live services are faster and more reliable than PlayStation Network
  • Backward compatibility using discs
  • Smaller

Cons

  • More expensive
  • Fewer exclusive games

The Xbox One X arrived on the market at a time when Xbox was heavily critized for being underpowered. Thanks to a big GPU boost, it now holds the title of being the most powerful console currently on the market, capable of rendering games at 4K resolution and 60FPS.

PlayStation 4 Pro

Best exclusive experiences

$400 at Best Buy

Pros

  • More exclusives
  • Better reputation
  • Cheaper
  • Supports virtual reality with its own dedicated headset (purchased separately)

Cons

  • Larger
  • Less powerful
  • Backward compatibility not supported with discs

The PS4 Pro certainly holds the better reputation and has more (and arguably better) exclusives, but it is less powerful than the Xbox One X. Despite that, it is still capable of rendering games at 4K resolution and 60FPS as well, albeit less frequently.

What’s the difference?

The differences between each console run much deeper than merely cosmetic. Not only are their specs different, but each supports its own exclusive games and programs.

Category Xbox One X PlayStation 4 Pro
Price $500 $400
CPU 2.3GHz 8-core custom AMD Jaguar 2.1GHz 8-core custom AMD Jaguar
GPU 6.0 TFLOP AMD Radeon 4.2 TFLOP AMD Radeon
RAM 12 GB GDDR5 8GB GDDR5 + 1GB
4K support Yes Yes
HDR support Yes Yes
Storage 1 TB 1 TB
Optical drive 4K Blu-ray, DVD Blu-ray, DVD
Backward compatibility Yes No
VR support Not yet Yes

What these features mean to you

It’s easy to be confused when looking at the specs of each machine. CPU? GPU? What do those even mean to the average consumer? We’ll break down how they affect your gaming experience and the importance they play.

CPU, GPU, and RAM

To make this as simple as possible, the CPU (central processing unit), GPU (graphics processing unit), and RAM (random access memory) all dictate the console’s power and performance, meaning they affect how well games run and look. Without these, the system cannot function.

The CPU can be thought of as the console’s brain, processing countless calculations to get the system up and running. The GPU, as its name suggests, creates and renders the images and videos that you see on your display. RAM stores the data and memory that is currently being used by your system.

To make it even more simple: bigger numbers (when measured in the same units) are better in this regard. The bigger the number, the faster and more reliably it can process. When playing a video game, time means everything. The quicker it processes information, the smoother your overall experience.

4K resolution and HDR support

Images are made up of thousands of small pixels. If an image has a higher pixel count, that means it is clearer and more crisp, visualizing more details. 4K images are considered ultra high definition at 3840x2160p (pixels), while normal high definition images are 1920x1080p. At a normal aspect ratio of 16:9 (a widescreen format), 4K images have 4 times the amount of pixels on screen than a 1080p image.

Though both consoles can render games at 4K resolution, the Xbox One X does so more often natively, meaning that the images are not checkerboarded. The PS4 Pro uses checkerboard 4K rendering more often. Checkerboarding means that the PS4 Pro will render only half of an image and then extrapolate that data to render the other half at a higher resolution to give the final image the illusion of being 4K. Instead of each pixel being a square, they are rectangles in the checkerboarding technique that the PS4 Pro uses. Native 4K is a crisper image, but it’s quite honestly hard to tell the difference between checkerboarded and native 4K for most people as they are nearly identical to the human eye, especially when playing a fast-paced game.

Both consoles can supersample a 4K image, scaling it down on a lower resolution screen to give players the benefit of viewing a sharper image, but the Xbox One X does so by default. On PS4 Pro, you need to enable its supersampling mode in the settings.

HDR (high dynamic range) produces more vivid colors by widening the range of luminosity. Instead of possibly looking washed-out, HDR provides higher contrast for a truer, more vibrant image. This is especially apparent with deeper blacks and brighter whites.

Backward compatibility

Xbox One has a growing catalogue of Xbox 360 and original Xbox games that are backward compatible, meaning they can be played on an Xbox One simply by popping in your old disc. The PlayStation 4 does not have such a feature. Though its paid streaming service PlayStation Now gives players access to older PS3 and PS2 games, you’re still paying for them through the service. You can’t dust off an old game you already own and play it on a PS4 like you can with the Xbox One. The catch for Xbox One is that not every game is backward compatible, but new games are added frequently to the list of titles that are, and they include some of the most popular Xbox 360 and original Xbox games.

Certain backward compatible Xbox 360 games are also enhanced on Xbox One X, bumping their resolution and frame rates.

VR support

When the Xbox One X was first introduced (under the name Project Scorpio), it was marketed as being able to support virtual reality experiences. Though it technically has the capability of supporting them, VR has yet to come to the console. On Sony’s side, the PS4 has its own dedicated PSVR headset with a catalogue of virtual reality games to choose from.

Virtual reality may make its way to Xbox in the future, but as of right now, PlayStation is firmly beating out the console competition in that regard.

Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now

Xbox and PlayStation technically have their own “Netflix for games” services called Xbox Game Pass and PlayStation Now, but Xbox’s beats PlayStation’s out of the water simply in quality and content.

For $10/month, Xbox Game Pass allows players to download and play a catalogue of hundreds of games, including the newest Xbox exclusive releases, which launch into the service the same day as their global release at retail. Don’t want to pay $60 for a brand new Xbox exclusive game? Pick up Game Pass for a month. Simple solution. And because the games download directly to your Xbox, you don’t need to worry about subpar internet speeds getting in the way of your enjoyment.

PlayStation Now, on the other hand, costs $20/month and is a streaming service, leading to less reliable connections and greater lag. Buffering is already an annoyance when watching some of our favorite television shows on Netflix, but if you’re playing a game with input lag because of slow internet speeds, it becomes nearly impossible to enjoy at times.

What about Xbox Live Gold and PlayStation Plus?

Comparing each system’s premium online subscription service, Xbox Live Gold versus PlayStation Plus, is a whole other beast, but there are a few key differences and similarities that you’ll want to know about before deciding which console is right for you.

In terms of similarities, both services cost $60 a year, offer a few free games each month (with PS Plus edging out Xbox Live Gold in terms of monetary value), grant members larger discounts on games, and enable the ability to play online multiplayer. The quality of the online multiplayer, however, differs.

While the PlayStation Network has a larger playerbase, Xbox Live is reported by the IHS Markit in an independent study as being more stable and faster, therefore making it a more reliable place to play.

Bottom line

Normally this is where we’d recommend one product over the other, but there isn’t necessarily a clear winner here. Objectively, the Xbox One X does have more power to run games at higher frame rates and resolution, but whether you care about that is entirely subjective. A lot of people are perfectly fine with playing a game at 1080p as opposed to 4K. The PS4 has more — and arguably better exclusives — but whether they suit your tastes depends on your preferences for single-player or multiplayer experiences.

Xbox One X

Expensive but powerful

$500 at Best Buy

Microsoft’s greatest console yet

If you want the best looking games with some tasty incentive programs — like Xbox Game Pass and backward compatibility — the Xbox One X is the way to go.

PlayStation 4 Pro

Affordable and high-quality

$400 at Best Buy

More exclusives at a lower cost

For a reliable virtual reality machine with its own dedicated headset and a catalogue of quality exclusives, it’s hard to pass up on a PlayStation 4 Pro.

Now is a great time to invest in smart light bulbs, but what should you get?

With Christmas just around the corner many smart home products are on sale, hoping to make their way under the tree. This includes smart light bulbs, but what should you get? Hands down, Philips Hue is probably the best choice for most of you reading this. Yes, you need a hub but Hue bulbs are super reliable and also easier to find at brick-in-mortars in the event you need to get a replacement bulb in a hurry.

Hue offers loads of smart light bulbs and lamps that can be controlled via Google Home and Amazon Echo devices. Don’t have a smart speaker?  You really should, but if you don’t the good news is you can also control smart light bulbs directly from your smartphone via any Hue compatible apps.

You can turn all the lights on or off at once, or just the one in the room of choice. You can also dim the lights to specific percentages and even check with Assistant if you forgot to turn off the one in the bathroom before going to bed. As you’ll find with all smart light bulbs, setup is a breeze. Just plug or screw in the light and follow any included instructions for setting up with an app or smart speaker.

Philips offers a few starter packs worth checking out. They include smart light bulbs and the Hue bridge hub, which is required for the system to work. If you buy the Hue bulbs individually, you’ll still  have to get the Hue bridge, which goes for $60 on Philips’ website.

Philips Hue White starter kit

The cheapest starter kit with the Hue bridge goes for $70 and comes with two smart bulbs that produce a warm white light. For an additional $30, you can get a starter pack with four bulbs that emit different shades of white, from cool daylight to relaxing warm white light. The most expensive option goes for $200 and gets you four bulbs able to light up your room in 16 million different colors.

There are also loads of sexy lamps and lights available that range from $35 to $350. You can check out some of the best ones below, along with a few starter kits:


Runner up: Lifx smart light bulbs

Lifx smart light bulbs

Not impressed by Hue? Lifx is easily the second most popular choice. Lifx smart light bulbs are similar to those from Philips. You can turn them on or off, dim them, change their color, and more via Google Home and Amazon Echo devices. You can even create schedules to automate your lighting. Unlike Philips products, they don’t require a hub to work.

Editor’s Pick

There are many products to choose from. The cheapest bulb will set you back $25 (Lifx Mini White), and only produces white light. You’ll have to dish out $20 more for the Lifx Mini Color, which lets you light up your home in any of the 16 million colors available. Keep in mind most Lifx products come with a discount when purchased in packs of four. Four Mini Color bulbs can be yours for $160, which brings the price of each unit down to $40 and saves you $20.

Two of the most interesting Lifx products are Tile and Beam. Tile costs $250 and comes with five tiles included in the box, allowing you to create a unique layout on a wall. Every tile features 64 controllable zones and you can assign a different color and brightness to each one — check what this looks like in action below.

Lifx smart light bulbs tile and beam Lifx

Lifx Beam is cheaper, at $200, and works pretty much the same way, although it doesn’t feature controllable zones. It also has a different form factor (11.8 x 1.37 x 0.78 inches). There are six “beams” included in the box, which you can set up any way you want to create a unique look. Learn more about Beam, as well as other Lifx products, via the links below:


Best for budget: Xiaomi Yeelight family

Xiaomi Yeelight Color Led Light Bulb

There are tons of light bulb brands but for the most part we recommend Hue and Lifx. The one clear exception is for those looking to make their homes smarter on a budget. If that sounds like you, we highly recommend checking out Xiaomi’s offerings.

We recently reviewed Xioami’s desk lamp, smart plug, and other accessories and found them all great. Particularly impressive is the Yeelight color LED bulb. It works well and is only $20, which makes it much cheaper than the competition. In fact, this pricing wouldn’t even be expensive if we were talking about a white-only bulb, but with full color support this is a steal!

Also worth mentioning: Sengled and Nanoleaf

Another great choice for budget users is Sengled, which offers affordable smart light bulbs under the Element brand. Pricing starts at $10 for the cheapest bulb, with four and eight-packs available to bring down the price even further. But you’ll have to dish out $20 extra to get your hands on a light bulb that can change colors. Also the bulbs require a hub.

If you’re looking for something super modern and stylish, Nanoleaf is the company to go with. It sells light panels you can piece together into any shape you want. You can set schedules and create scenes that Assistant or Alexa can activate. It’s far from the cheapest option out there — nine panels go for $230. If you need more, you can get 15 panels for $315 or 30 for around $550.


There you have it, these are the best smart light bulbs and other lighting products compatible with Google Home and Amazon Echo devices. Which one is your favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Related: What is a Smart Home — and why should you want one?

Affiliate disclosure: We may receive compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. The compensation received will never influence the content, topics or posts made in this blog. See our disclosure policy for more details.

Some LG G7 owners are reporting bootloops, but a fix is coming

The back of the LG G7 ThinQ.

  • Some LG G7 users are reporting that their phones are suffering from bootloop issues.
  • Fortunately, the issue is restricted to T-Mobile users in certain European countries.
  • LG is aware and will be issuing a fix “within the next several days.”

LG is no stranger to the phenomenon of bootloops, and it looks like a few LG G7s are experiencing the issue as well.

According to threads on Reddit and XDA (h/t: PhoneArena), some European LG G7 owners reported that their phones would repeatedly try and fail to boot up. Oddly enough, it seems like the problem is restricted to T-Mobile subscribers in Europe. One redditor also posted a video of their phone boot-looping, which can be seen below.

The South Korean manufacturer has confirmed the issue to PhoneArena, saying it was indeed related to one network (which looks to be T-Mobile).

“The latest software update for the LG G7 ThinQ on a specific network in a number of European countries is preventing the phone from starting,” LG explained, adding that affected phones haven’t suffered from permanent damage.

Editor’s Pick

“In cooperation with the operator, LG will be issuing a software solution within the next several days which will allow affected customers to roll back the update and return their device to its previous state. Customers are encouraged to contact an LG call center or visit their local service center for further assistance,” the company added.

In other words, this seems like an issue with the network or the latest version of the network-approved G7 update rather than the LG hardware itself. This should be a relief for both users and the Korean brand, following a spate of more serious bootloops over the years that affected everything from the LG G4 to the Nexus 5X.

NEXT: Xiaomi’s next smartphone might feature a 48-megapixel camera

It looks like OnePlus won’t have the first Snapdragon 855 phone after all

  • OnePlus has reportedly confirmed that its 2019 flagship will not be the first to offer the Snapdragon 855 chipset.
  • OnePlus attributed the mistake to a miscommunication.
  • We may still see a OnePlus phone launch earlier than usual in 2019, however.

OnePlus made tech headlines yesterday when it announced that it would launch the first phone with a Snapdragon 855 chipset.

It came as a big surprise, because Samsung is usually the first to adopt Qualcomm‘s newest flagship chips. Now, it seems like the Chinese manufacturer’s claim was actually in error.

According to Engadget, Chinese versions of the slide deck used by CEO Pete Lau show that OnePlus would be “among the first” manufacturers to use the new chipset. However, the English version used during Lau’s address boldly stated that OnePlus would be “first” to offer the processor.

A OnePlus spokesperson later confirmed the error to the outlet and said the brand would be “one of the first” to use the chip, rather than the first.

Editor’s Pick

The change is a pretty big deal, because it means that OnePlus hasn’t quite pulled off a massive upset over the likes of Samsung. It’s still noteworthy to see the brand being among the first to use the chipset however, as it suggests we’ll be seeing a new phone launch sooner than we traditionally expect from OnePlus. The company usually launches its first handset of the year in May or June.

The news also comes after OnePlus revealed in a press release that it’s teaming up with the EE network to be “first to release a 5G commercial smartphone in Europe.” The Chinese brand didn’t reveal a release date beyond 2019, but said the new phone would be powered by a Snapdragon 855 chipset.

NEXT: Snapdragon 855 vs Exynos 9820 vs Kirin 980

Holiday Deal: Mint Mobile offers 3 months of service for $20

This year for the holidays, Mint Mobile is offering 3 months of service for only $20. That’s $40 less than the normal price for this plan, which includes unlimited talk, unlimited text, and 5GB of LTE data.

Okay, sure. What’s the fine print?

Actually, there’s not much! Here’s the full breakdown:

  • This deal began on November 22 and is only here for a limited time — the deal ends January 1, 2019.
  • If you decide that Mint isn’t for you at any point during your first week, then you can collect a full refund.
  • Cannot combine this offer with any other offers.

No real strings or ‘gotchas.’ Straightforward, high-quality deals are kind of what we’ve come to expect from Mint.

So what exactly is Mint Mobile?

Mint Mobile is a T-Mobile MVNO (mobile virtual network operator). Basically, that just means it piggybacks off T-Mobile’s network and you can use any unlocked smartphone compatible with T-Mobile. Furthermore, if T-Mobile has solid coverage in your area, then you can expect the same coverage from Mint.

Editor’s Pick

Not sure if your phone is compatible with Mint? Click the Bring Your Own Phone link at the top of the page to find out!

What is particularly nice is that Mint Mobile is the only T-Mobile prepaid subsidiary that sells its plans in multiple-month batches.

If you decide to give Mint Mobile a try, you can click the link below to grab 3 months of service for $20. The deal will only be available until January 1, so don’t delay! 

Facebook users are being kicked out of their accounts and unable to log back in

Facebook down login issue

Facebook users are being dumped out of their accounts and unable to sign back in. The login issue appears to have started at around 9AM PT, with thousands of Facebook users rushing to other social media sites to complain about the outage.

Judging by outrage report websites, it seems as though the main victims of the login error are based in Europe, although there are some spikes in India and parts of North America.

Editor’s Pick

It’s not clear what the actual problem is at this stage, but it all starts with being automatically signed out of Facebook when you visit the social media site or use the Facebook app.

Several Android Authority staff members with Facebook accounts managed to replicate the problem and were unable to get back into their accounts — instead being met with a “Page is unavailable” message.

Other Facebook users posting on Twitter have noted that attempting to reset their password using a code but were still unable to login after the reset.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for a fix, but in the meantime you might want to check your account to see if you’re affected.

This is a developing post which will be updated when we have more information…

These are the best exclusive games on PlayStation 4

PlayStation is generally considered to have better exclusives than Xbox, and this generation made that even more apparent for a lot of players interested in single-player experiences. Below are some of the very best PS4 games that you can buy and only play on Sony’s console.

Fantastic and wacky adventures

Yakuza 0

The Yakuza series has been quietly plugging away at the construction of a vast gaming world since 2005. With a release nearly every year since its inception one might think that the series has done everything possible within its framework. However, Yakuza 0 released in Japan in 2015 and slipped onto western shores in 2017 and there is plenty of new stuff to keep you busy.

$19 at Amazon

Gothic horror

Bloodborne

Thus far, From Software has done one thing and done it quite well. They have managed to relentlessly brutalize gamers and leave them begging for more. Bloodborne is not a sequel to the “Souls” series but more of a spiritual successor… Or blood successor if you will. You will hack and slash your ways through the streets of Yharnam, a gothic analog for a 19th-century European city, which has been infested by a plague.

$27 at Amazon

Old meets new

Horizon: Zero Dawn

If you want a beautiful looking game with a great story, you should look no further than Horizon: Zero Dawn. It is chock full of gorgeous visuals and the combat mechanics are intuitive while also managing to be incredibly satisfying. Guerilla Games managed to make a game that had me want to find every unexplored corner of its lush world.

$20 at Amazon

Superhero shenanigans

Marvel’s Spider-Man

Marvel’s Spider-Man swung onto the scene (pun intended) this fall and quickly became one of the best superhero games ever made. Peter Parker is no longer a kid and has built up wuite the list of formidable enemies over the years. Luckily, taking them out is a whole lot of fun.

$40 at Amazon

Nathan Drake’s swan song

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End

Naughty Dog knocked it out of the park when it came to concluding Nathan Drake’s journey. You’ll be hard-pressed to find another game more polished or cinematic, with engaging combat to boot. From Scotland to Madagascar, Nate and his brother race to find a valuable pirate treasure.

$20 at PlayStation

They’re not zombies

The Last of Us Remastered

Before Naughty Dog finished up Nathan Drake’s story, they leapt into a whole new world with The Last of Us, this time taking us on a post-apocalyptic roadtrip. Swapping out traditional zombies for infected humans called Clickers, The Last of Us follows Joel and Ellie as they journey across the United States to hopefully find a cure.

$19 at Amazon

Dad of the year

God of War

The wait for the newest entry in the God of War franchise is finally over and it’s a real stunner. Eight games into the series and one might think that it’s gone a bit long in the tooth. However, developer, Santa Monica Games has managed to breathe a whole new life into the series.

$37 at Amazon

JRPG goodness

Persona 5

If you are a fan of JRPG games and you have never given yourself the gift that is Person 5, maybe it’s about time you did. Widely regarded as one of the most stellar JRPGs to ever come down the pike and garnering multitudes of awards and nominations, it is definitely worth your time.

$30 at Amazon

There are plenty of exclusive games on PlayStation, and these are just some of the best. If you had to play just one, consider picking up God of War. It’s truly a fantastic experience in nearly every aspect.

How to set up and customize Google Assistant

Make it yours, and you’ll get a lot more out of the experience.

While Google Assistant made its official debut with Allo, it wasn’t until the release of the Pixel that we’ve seen more of what Google has in store for their personal AI assistant. Now, Google Assistant has rolled out to all Android phones running on Marshmallow or later.

There are so many ways to use the Assistant throughout the day, from getting a daily briefing first thing in the morning to conveniently setting an alarm for the next day and nearly everything in between. To get the most out of Google Assistant, you’ll want to know about all the settings and features, and we’re here to help.

How to set up Google Assistant

Google Assistant is baked right into any phone running Marshmallow and above, and can be accessed by long pressing the Home button or by saying “OK Google” if you’ve got voice activation enabled. If you’re logged into your Google Account, but have yet to set up Google Assistant, you can start the process by launching it from the home screen for the first time.

  1. Launch Google Assistant by long pressing the Home Button.
  2. Tap Next on the “Meet your personal Google Assistant” screen.
  3. Tap Continue on the next screen to allow permissions.

And that’s that. You might also be prompted to configure voice activation, which just involves you repeating “OK Google” three times. Pretty simple!

How to change your account with Google Assistant

If you have more than one Google account active on your phone, it’s important to make sure Google Assistant is connected with the one you want. Google Assistant is able to pull details from Gmail, Google Photos, and other Google services including your calendar events as well as your Chrome browsing habits, so you’ll want to make sure you’re using your primary account.

If you accidentally set things up with the wrong account or simply want to switch over to a different account, it’s really easy.

  1. Launch Google Assistant by long pressing the Home Button.
  2. Press the compass icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window to open the Explore window.
  3. Tap the menu icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window.
  4. Tap Accounts.
  5. Tap the account you want to use.

Switching between accounts is easy to do, though you’ll need to go through the quick setup process and allow the required access permissions.

How to customize your “Good morning” bulletin

You can use Google Assistant to give you a briefing on everything you need to know to start your day, from weather forecasts, calendar reminders, and a preview of your work commute. If you don’t need all that, you can customize it to suit your needs.

  1. Launch Google Assistant by long pressing the Home Button.
  2. Press the compass icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window.
  3. Tap the menu icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window.
  4. Tap Settings

  5. Tap Routines
  6. Tap Good morning
  7. Tap the checkboxes to toggle what’s included in your morning summary.
  8. You can also toggle whether to end your summary with narrated news reports, music playlists, radio stations, audiobooks, podcasts or no audio at all.

Once you’ve set everything up, all you need to do is say “Good morning” to Google Assistant.

Read more about Google Assistant’s new ‘Routines’ feature

How to customize Google Assistant’s news sources

Google Assistant can help you keep up to date on what’s going on in the world with its narrated news service. It pulls radio news reports from reliable news sources which you can listen to after your daily briefing or by saying “OK Google, listen to news”. If this seems like a valuable feature to you, you’ll definitely want to customize your news sources.

  1. Launch Google Assistant by long pressing the Home Button.
  2. Press the compass icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window.
  3. Tap the menu icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window.
  4. Tap Settings
  5. Tap News.

  6. Tap Add news sources
  7. Swipe up to scroll through the list of news sources.
  8. Check the box next to your desired news sources.

  9. Tap the back arrow.
  10. Tap Change Order
  11. Tap and drag the news sources in the order you want to listen to them.

How to customize your Google Assistant nickname

Google Assistant will call you by your first name by default, but you can teach it to call you any nickname you want.

  1. Launch Google Assistant by long pressing the Home Button.
  2. Press the compass icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window.
  3. Tap the menu icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window.
  4. Tap Settings

  5. Tap Personal info.
  6. Tap Nickname.

  7. Tap the edit icon next to your name.

  8. Type in whatever you want you nickname to be.
  9. Tap OK.

If you don’t like how the Google Assistant is pronouncing your nickname, you can opt to spell it out phonetically by tapping the “Spell it out” radio button under Pronunciation, or you can record yourself saying your name.

How to unblock offensive words

By default, Google Assistant will censor all offensive words. If you’re alright with salty language, you can turn it off quick and easy.

  1. Launch Google Assistant by long pressing the Home Button.
  2. Press the compass icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window.
  3. Tap the menu icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window.
  4. Tap Settings
  5. Under Devices, click on Phone.

  6. Swipe up to scroll through the options.
  7. Tap on other voice settings.
  8. Tap the toggle switch next to “Block offensive words”.

Google Assistant will never swear, but now words deemed as offensive won’t be censored in the transcriptions of what you say.

How to view your activity history

Your Google Assistant will keep track of not only all your search activity, but also where you were when you made your request. Google assures this data is kept secure and private. If you’d like to review your activity history and see the details, you can access it straight from the Google Assistant settings.

  1. Launch Google Assistant by long pressing the Home Button.
  2. Press the compass icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window.
  3. Tap the menu icon in the top-right corner of the Google Assistant window.
  4. Tap My Activity

Chrome will launch and you’ll be taken to Google’s log of all your logged activity with Google Assistant. From there, you can tap “details” to see more information, including roughly where you were when the activity occurred. If this sort of creeps you out, you can tap “Activity Controls” to toggle some of the settings, but this is basically what you signed up for to use Google Assistant.

How to change the voice of your Google Assistant

Google Assistant now comes with eight voice options, and they’re easy to switch between! The feature works on your phone and Home, and it’s a great way to add some diversity to your Assistant experience.

How to change the voice on your Google Assistant

Updated December 2018: We’ve updated the steps to reflect slight UI changes.

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December 2018 security patch arrives for Pixel, Nexus, Essential Phone, and 2016 Pixels

Update #2, December 5 at 8:39 a.m. ET: Google has posted December 2018 factory images and OTA files for the original Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL. You can download them below:


Update #1, December 3 at 4:12 p.m. ET: Essential is usually quick to roll out Android security patches soon after Google releases them, and this month’s patch is no different. Essential Phone owners, the December Android security patch should be rolling out to your devices now!


Original article, December 3 at 1:05 p.m. ET: Right on schedule, Google has released Android’s December security patch. The new factory images for the various Google devices are here, while the OTA files are here.

The good news is that the Pixel C, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 5X are still getting updates, despite the fact that the company is no longer obligated to issue security patches for the three-year-old devices.

However, the bad news is that — just like last month — the security patches for the Google Pixel and Google Pixel XL are not here yet. Last month, the updates for the OG Pixel devices came about two weeks after the initial batch. Is this going to be the trend from now on?

Editor’s Pick

The December patch itself includes fixes for multiple security vulnerabilities. The most severe of these issues is a critical security vulnerability in media framework that could enable a remote attacker to execute arbitrary code on a device. However, Google has no record of any attacker actually exploiting this vulnerability.

The patch also includes a long-awaited fix for the memory management problems present on the Google Pixel 3 and Google Pixel 3 XL. There’s also some camera improvements, a fix for flickering always-on-display, and some Bluetooth audio enhancements. Check out the table below to see what’s getting a fix for your device(s):

If you don’t want to wait for the December security patch to make its way to your phone, you can download the latest factory image or OTA file from the links below. From there, you can either flash a fresh build to your phone or sideload the OTA update.

NEXT: I got a Google Home Mini for $1, and you can too — Here’s how!