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Google’s Nest launches network technology for connected home

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Google Inc’s Nest Labs on Tuesday unveiled an industry group to encourage makers of smart home gadgets like locks and light bulbs to use Thread, a new standard for devices to communicate on a network.

The attempt by Nest, a smart thermostat maker that Google bought in January for $3.2 billion, to lead the way on how future household devices to speak to each other, underscores the importance Google puts on areas like cars and the home.

It follows similar initiatives by Qualcomm Inc, Intel Corp and other technology companies.

The new Thread Group includes Samsung Electronics and chip companies ARM Holdings, Freescale Semiconductor and Silicon Labs. Big Ass Fans and lock maker Yale are also members of the group, which will certify Thread-compatible products.

Thread is a networking protocol with security and low-power features that make it more suitable for connecting household device than others, such as Wifi, NFC, Bluetooth or ZigBee, said Chris Boross, a Nest product manager who heads the new group. Nest’s products already use a version of Thread, he said.

The radio chips used for Thread-compatible smart devices are already in many existing connected home products that use ZigBee, like Philips Hue smart light bulbs.

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Those Zigbee devices could potentially be updated with software from their manufacturers to work with Thread after a product certification program starts next year, Boross said.

“Around that time I imagine that Thread-compliant products will start hitting the market, but people can start building Thread today,” he said.

Companies including Silicon Labs, Freescale, NXP and Atmel make chips that could be used in Thread-compatible products, which Boross said will be easy to interconnect and offer improved security.

In June, Nest said it partnered with Mercedes-Benz, Whirlpool Corp and light bulb maker LIFX to integrate their products with its thermostats and smoke detectors.

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Its Thread Group goes even further and adds to a growing field of companies and industry consortia trying standardize how household connected devices from different manufacturers interact. Last week, Thread Group member Samsung Electronics also joined Intel and Dell Inc to form a new consortium.

Earlier in July, Microsoft Corp became the 51st member of a competing group called AllSeen Alliance, which is led by Qualcomm and also includes Sharp Corp and other consumer electronics manufacturers.

Apple Inc, known for strictly controlling how other companies’ products interact with its own, in June announced plans for HomeKit, its own framework for connecting household gadgets.

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Net-zero: climate-saving target or delay tactic?

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With Britain set to become the first major economy to commit in law to reaching a target of net-zero emissions by 2050, what is carbon neutrality, and how will nations reach it?

- Why net-zero? -

Nations are gathered this week in the German city of Bonn to discuss implementing the Paris climate deal -- a landmark accord that in 2015 committed countries to work to limit global temperature rises.

Paris aims to cap warming at two degrees celsius (3.6 Farenheit) and requires nations to submit individually defined plans to slash the greenhouse gas emissions that are driving the mercury up.

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Fox & Friends attacks Mueller’s credibility: ‘I don’t think he knows the details of the report’

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The hosts of "Fox & Friends" questioned Robert Mueller's credibility after Congress set a date for the former special counsel to testify about his findings.

Mueller will testify July 17 to lay out evidence of alleged crimes by President Donald Trump and his campaign associates, and Fox News broadcasters suggested questions that could undercut his impartiality.

"How did it make you feel when president of the United States said that you're compromised, or how did it make you feel when the president of the United States kept attacking the process?" said co-host Brian Kilmeade. "What did you think about the rumors he was going to fire you? I'm not sure he is going to answer that either."

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How the DOJ just asked the Supreme Court to essentially become a ‘branch of the Trump administration’

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With the fate of the nation's electoral maps — and thus the very basis of democracy — hanging in the balance, the Supreme Court is poised to rule on the controversial Census case. But at the last minute, Justice Department Solicitor General Noel Francisco wrote new a new plea to the justices asking them to take an even more extraordinary step than simply ruling on the issue before them.

Indeed, law professor Richard Hasen wrote in Slate on Tuesday that if the court goes along with Francisco's request, it will essentially act as a part of the Trump administration.

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