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Amazon, Google personal assistants can handle more chores. Just ask them

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Already, about one in four U.S. consumers has a home personal assistant at their beck and call, thanks to the success of smart speakers like Amazon Echo and Google Nest. But many users are just scratching the surface of what these gadgets can do. If you aren't familiar with the speakers (both starting at $35), you wake up your artificial intelligence-driven helper with a keyword – "Alexa" for Amazon devices and "OK, Google" for a Google Nest or Google Home speaker – followed by a question or command. A human-like voice will give you a response, whether you want to hear the weather, a specific song, set a timer for the oven, or control your smart devices in your home, such as adjusting lighting or a thermostat. One-fourth of U.S. consumers (25%) will use a smart speaker in 2020, up from 17% in 2018, according to research firm eMarketer.


This accessibility tech promises to make it safer than ever to live independently

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

This accessibility tech promises to make it safer than ever to live independently (Photo: Reviewed.com) Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Technology may be entertaining, but at its essence, its primary function is to make our lives easier. When we want to find answers to our questions, communicate with friends, secure our homes, or hundreds of other scenarios, we turn to technology. At CES 2020, technology took on another role: helping us care for ourselves and loved ones.


The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Friday

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

The weekend's almost here, and these Amazon deals can help you jumpstart it in exactly the most perfect way. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. Whether you're looking to save a little extra money on a coveted robot vacuum or you just feel like treating yourself to a little splurge (hello oil diffusers!), the best discounts on Amazon can help you feel good about saving money, and nab some pretty excellent stuff along the way. It's a new year, which means it's the perfect time to usher in good vibes in your life. You can start by making your home the most relaxing place possible, and the best oil diffuser we've ever tested can help.


Tinder is reportedly adding a panic button for when bad dates go horribly wrong

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Meeting strangers off the internet is inherently dangerous, and Tinder reportedly wants to do something about it. The popular dating app is beefing up its user security options, offering a panic alarm for when casual meet-ups or dates take a turn for the worst, the Wall Street Jourrnal reports. Tinder, which is owned by Match, will start testing a panic button in the U.S. by the end of this month, the publication said on Thursday. The offering is brought about through Match's purchase of the personal safety app Noonlight. Match will extend the feature to its other dating apps like OkCupid, Match and Hinge this year.


I got an Echo Dot 3--now how do I set it up?

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Controlling your smart home is easy to do with the best Echo speaker, since Amazon's Alexa works with so many different smart home gadgets. If you've recently acquired an Echo Dot (third-generation) and aren't sure how to set it up, you've come to the right place. Setting up your new Echo Dot (third-generation) speaker doesn't take long at all, but there are a few steps you need to follow. Here's how to set up your Echo Dot 3. The Amazon Alexa app is available for download on iOS and Android devices. If you already have the app installed, check to make sure you're running the latest version of it.


Self-driving big-rig trucks coming soon? Waymo set to begin mapping interstates in Texas, New Mexico

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The Lone Star State may become a little lonelier -- at least when it comes to big-rig trucking. Waymo, the self-driving vehicle division of Google parent Alphabet, is about to start mapping in Texas and New Mexico as a prelude to testing its self-driving big-rig trucks. The mapping minivans, to be followed by the large trucks, will run primarily along Interstates 10, 20 and 45 and through metropolitan areas like El Paso, Dallas and Houston, the company said. Waymo previously mapped and tested its big rigs in Arizona, California and Georgia. The latest move will add to that footprint as the company moves toward its vision of big rigs rolling down interstates with no one at the wheel, their sensors and computers making them safer than if they have a human in control.


The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Wednesday

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Don't pass up these chances to save. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. While we've seen a steady stream of sales this month, January is finally looming towards its end. If you haven't yet had the opportunity to treat yourself, especially over this past long weekend, don't worry--there's still plenty of chances to get the stuff you love on the cheap. Whether it's a robot vacuum you've been eyeing, or perhaps a tool or two to do some home improvement--we've got you covered with the top deals you can get over on Amazon this Wednesday.


If you're up for riding in a robotaxi, General Motors' Cruise wants you to meet Origin -- at some point

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The world's first self-driving electric-powered ride-sharing vehicle is here, but no word on when you'll actually be able to app-hail this robotaxi. Cruise, the self-driving car division of General Motors, unveiled the Origin on Tuesday night in a former Honda dealership just south of downtown. The six-passenger vehicle looks a bit like a small bus, has no steering wheel or pedals, and offers a cavernous area where two rows of three passengers face each other. In introducing the vehicle, Cruise CEO Dan Ammann, a former president of GM, told a crowd made up mostly of company employees that the Origin "is a production vehicle," adding that an announcement about where and when manufacturing will begin is coming soon. Kyle Vogt, Cruise's co-founder who sold the company to GM in 2016 for $1 billion and now serves as chief technology officer, said that being the first automotive or tech company to introduce a dedicated autonomous ride-sharing car doesn't guarantee success.


You can finally get a Roomba for an affordable price right now

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Save on the best robot vacuum money can buy. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. One of the most frustrating things about vacuuming, at least in my opinion, is that no matter how often you do it, dirt and dust seem to accumulate back up in the blink of an eye. If you struggle to keep your floors clean as much as the next guy, then a robot vacuum might be the solution to your problems. These little cleaning assistants scoot around your floors, picking up crumbs, pet hair, and everything in between--so you don't have to lift a finger.


Tesla denies allegations that its cars accelerate randomly without driver input

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Tesla says claims that its cars suddenly accelerate on their own are "completely false." The Palo Alto-based car manufacturer is facing 127 allegations from Tesla owners claiming that all three of its EVs accelerate seemingly without cause. The complaints are part of a petition recently filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. On Monday, in a blog post titled "There is no'unintended acceleration' in Tesla vehicles," the EV maker said the petition was brought on by a "Tesla short-seller" who wants to manipulate its stock. CNBC reports that the petition was kickstarted by Brian Sparks, an investor who "is currently shorting Tesla stock."