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canary

There are some 90 million homes in the U.S. without any security system whatsoever. Many of them are renters who don’t want to invest heavily in a place they don’t own, among hundreds of thousands of home owners who are simply priced out. There has never been a convenient, all-in-one system that could offer home security at an affordable rate, much less one you could pick up at the local Best Buy.

But that all changes with Canary, the latest crowd-funding sensation to hit Indiegogo. We caught up with NYC-based founder Adam Sager to discuss the project.

Canary is a little console, slightly smaller than the size of a paper towel roll, that’s packed with a host of sensors, a mic, and an HD camera.

For $200 down, this little guy will connect to the Wifi, sync with your phone, and constantly watch your home. I say watch, and not monitor, because Canary can only see as far as its sensors will allow, whereas most home security systems are wired in to monitor every crack and crevice of a home. Canary can only hear as far as the mic allows, or the camera sees, or the sensors can sense.

However, Sager believes that when you place the Canary in the central part of your home, near the front door perhaps or watching over the living room, that a real threat, like a burglar, will likely set off the Canary no matter where it enters from.

Plus, if you have a larger space or want added security, you can always link more than one Canary (up to four, Sager tells me).

Canary’s sensors include night vision, motion detection, temperature, air quality and humidity, along with a live feed to the HD camera at any given time. The phone will instantly alert the user whenever the home experiences a random change, like a temperature fluctuation or sudden movement.

But Canary is also smart enough to learn your home, sensing the difference between a burglary and a pet. It even understands when regularly scheduled events occur, like the arrival of a nanny or a dog walker at the same time each day, so that you don’t have a panic attack each time Rover needs to take a wizz.

Canary’s distribution model is different from any other home security system in that you will eventually be able to go pick one up at a local electronics store on the cheap. This has never really been available before, and the potential market is huge with 90 million homes completely unprotected and priced out of the alternatives.

Sager admits that margins on the hardware itself won’t be that high, but the plan is to offer value-added services like monitoring (delivered by a TBD third-party) for $10/month.

Canary has been on Indiegogo for four days, and has blown far beyond its $100k goal to be at $550k at the time of writing. It only took a few hours to reach $100k, according to Sager.

If you’d like to back the project, head on over to the Canary website or check out the Indiegogo campaign.

Google’s mobile payment system, Google Wallet, is now available to the public – for people who use Sprint Nexus S 4G phones and Citi MasterCards or Visa cards at least. The near-field communication and contact-less payment system was expected to launch this summer.

Google Wallet – along with Google Offers – is built on an open platform that combines multiple credit cards, loyalty programs and offers at the point of sale. Payment is made by swiping your smartphone at checkout. Essentially, Google is turning your phone into your wallet.

The Google Wallet service must be associated with a Google account to begin using it. After agreeing to terms and conditions and entering a PIN, you can start the process of provisioning your cards to your account.

So far the service only works with Nexus S 4G phones on Sprint; people with these phones will receive over-the-air updates Monday and will see a new “Wallet” app. It also only works with Citi MasterCards and Google Prepaid Cards, which can be filled using any other credit card.

Update: Visa has announced that Visa customers can also use Google Wallet.

Eventually Discover and American Express will work with the app as well, Google said Monday.

The system made its debut in May and was tested in select markets. Just last week MasterCard, a launch partner, held another press event in New York City to show off other future-of-payment technologies, including the ability to make purchases by simply waving at your TV.

Shortly after Google revealed Google Wallet earlier this year, PayPal filed a lawsuit against Google and two former PayPal executives for sharing trade secrets. In the suit, PayPal claimed that former PayPal executive, now working at Google, Osama Bedier stole PayPal’s trade secrets and shared them with Google and other companies, and that another present Google employee and former PayPal exec, Stephanie Tilenius, violated her contract when she recruited Bedier.

Since the suit, PayPal told Mashable that it is preparing to release an update to the PayPal Mobile app that would let users make peer-to-peer payments using NFC.

Mobile carriers have also begun working on their own competitor to Google Wallet. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile are reportedly investing millions in Isis, their own mobile payment project. So far Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express have signed on to the service. It is expected to roll out sometime in 2012.

Google released the video below in May to promote Google Wallet.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZGoXvzW4WU

Google released the video below, featuring Seinfeld‘s George Costanza, in August.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKGptWtzeaU&feature=player_embedded

The new Foursquare app for Windows Phone makes use of some of the cool new features and API’s available in the coming “Mango” update, and some of them are very useful. The one I like the best is the deep-linking feature. Say you’re using Bing’s local search, or Bing maps, or the Local Scout and you tap on a location to see more details. Swiping the screen to the left will show the “Apps” tab that lists a few apps that you can jump into and transfer some context sensitive information over. With the new Foursquare app, a Foursquare button shows up there and pressing it will jump straight into a Foursquare search for the location you had been previously looking at. From there you can tap the location and check in right away. You can also pop up the menu bar at the bottom and pin the location’s Foursquare check-in card right to your Start screen. This is useful if you check into the same place frequently or if you just want a shortcut to someplace that you plan on checking into later that day.

The app update also supports fast app switching so that there is no “resuming” lag time when switching between Foursquare and other apps. Plus, the primary nearby locations screen now supports a tap-and-hold menu for quick check-ins.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8C9UhDHbl78