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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.

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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.

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.

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“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.

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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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Mitch McConnell may let Republicans write Senate impeachment rules without Democratic votes

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is plotting to shut out Democrats on impeachment if a bipartisan compromise on rules for the trial can't be reached.

The Kentucky Republican said this week that he hopes to reach an agreement on rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but he's also readying a "backup plan" in case he can't reach an agreement with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, reported Vanity Fair.

“The first thing Sen. Schumer and I will do is see if there’s a possibility of agreement on a procedure,” McConnell said. “That failing, I would probably come back to my own members and say, ‘Okay, can 51 of us agree how we’re going to handle this?’”

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Investigation uncovers Israel-based group behind bigoted Facebook smear campaign aimed at US Muslim congresswomen

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"The goal of these anti-Muslim hate campaigns is clear—they put Muslim lives here and around the world at risk and undermine our country's commitment to religious pluralism."

Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress, have been the target of a sustained campaign of far right hate and lies originating from a shadowy Israeli group, according to an investigation published Thursday by The Guardian.

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GOP minority leader Kevin McCarthy fumes at reporter for asking if he still believes Trump was paid by Putin

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House majority leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) on Thursday was asked about his previous comments suggesting that Donald Trump was on Vladimir Putin’s payroll.

"In 2016, you said then-candidate Trump was one of two people who are paid by Putin, the other being former Congressman Dana Rohrabacher," said Breakfast Media correspondent Andrew Feinberg. "Do you still believe that?"

"It was a joke. That's embarrassing that you would even ask that," McCarthy quickly shot back.

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