Let’s check out the news for Thursday:
1. Amazon is fair dinkum about conquering Australia. The tech giant has advertised a job at its Boston office for an Australian English linguist, which the New York Times suspects is to teach its Echo voice assistant all the nuances of our accent and idioms. Google beat Amazon to the Down Under market when it launched its Home device last week with the ability to understand local colloquialisms like “servo” and “brekkie”. Read more here on how Amazon is taking this competition seriously and how the late Steve Irwin’s son, Robert, confused a US quiz show host with his accent.
2. Australian energy giant AGL is getting into the smart home market. Californian startup August Smart Lock received $US25 million of funding overnight, with AGL chipping in as an investor. The company makes smart door locks that can be controlled by a mobile app, and has partnered with AirBnB to allow hosts to remotely let in authorised guests. Read more about the company here.
3. Queensland Police wants to watch you through your fridge. Legislators there are currently working out ways for police to take control of smart home gadgets for use as surveillance tools. The legal affairs committee is due to report next month. Read more.
4. A tech company born in a Sydney loft has now hit $100 million revenue. CRN reports services provider Brennan IT has reached the milestone on its 20th anniversary, while also recording a 26% growth in profit from targetting mid-sized businesses on their IT needs.
5. What is Ruslan Kogan not selling these days? The ecommerce giant is now offering insurance, announcing a three-year agreement with Hollard Insurance to supply it with home, contents, landlord, car and travel policies to on-sell to its customers as Kogan Insurance. Read more here.