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USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

DuckDuckGo, a search engine focused on privacy, increased its average number of daily searches by 62% in 2020 as users seek alternatives to impede data tracking. The search engine, founded in 2008, operated nearly 23.7 billion search queries on their platform in 2020, according to their traffic page. On Jan. 11, DuckDuckGo reached its highest number of search queries in one day, with a total of 102,251,307. DuckDuckGo does not track user searches or share personal data with third-party companies. "People are coming to us because they want more privacy, and it's generally spreading through word of mouth," Kamyl Bazbaz, DuckDuckGo vice president of communications, told USA TODAY.


Kroger testing new 'smart cart' that eliminates stopping to pay at checkout

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Kroger is testing new smart shopping cart technology in the Cincinnati area that eliminates paying at the checkout. For the past few weeks, Kroger quietly rolled out the new carts at its Madeira store, branded "KrogGo." The technology allows shoppers to load up their cart with groceries, then pay by swiping their credit or debit card at the cart, then head for the parking lot. Using artificial intelligence, the technology will enable shoppers to assemble their order without having to scan items as carts begin to recognize a box of cereal or pound of apples, according to Caper, the New York firm behind the technology. The carts include a built-in scale to measure items sold by weight and a built-in screen that can deliver shopping list recommendations, promotional offers, and wayfinding capabilities.


DuckDuckGo search engine increased its traffic by 62% in 2020 as users seek privacy

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

DuckDuckGo, a search engine focused on privacy, increased its average number of daily searches by 62% in 2020 as users seek alternatives to impede data tracking. The search engine, founded in 2008, operated nearly 23.7 billion search queries on their platform in 2020, according to their traffic page. On Jan. 11, DuckDuckGo reached its highest number of search queries in one day, with a total of 102,251,307. DuckDuckGo does not track user searches or share personal data with third-party companies. "People are coming to us because they want more privacy, and it's generally spreading through word-of-mouth," Kamyl Bazbaz, DuckDuckGo vice president of communications, told USA TODAY.


The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this weekend

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. At long last, the weekend is finally here! To celebrate the three-day break ahead, we've corralled some of the best Amazon deals we could find this weekend. From $200 in savings on an amazing iRobot Roomba vacuum to a more than 50% off one of our favorite pairs of noise-canceling headphones, the price cuts are certainly aplenty today--and you definitely won't want to miss out. Get expert shopping advice delivered to your phone.


Flying cars, smart beds: 5 things I'd actually buy from CES 2021

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Despite the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) taking place online for the first time in its 54-year history, the all-digital 2021 CES still served as a window to the near future, featuring more than 1,800 exhibitors showcasing their wares – virtually speaking. Granted, it can be tougher to assess how impressive these products are without seeing them with your own eyes – like the latest TV technologies or self-driving cars – but the show managed to surprise and delight with several innovative offerings. As an annual tradition during CES, the following is a few gadgets I'd actually shell out money for – even if they're not available for a long while. Galaxy S21 or iPhone 12?:How Samsung and Apple smartphones stack up Teased by Samsung earlier in the week, Bot Handy is a domestic robot that can roam around your home to perform chores – such as picking up clothes from the floor or loading the dishwasher – but my favorite feature is pouring a glass of wine and bringing it to you. After all, after the year we've just endured, who wouldn't want this kind of high-tech pampering.


Video game spending hits record $56.9 billion in 2020

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

With many Americans stuck at home last year due to the pandemic, spending on video games hit a new record. Total video game spending in 2020 hit $56.9 billion, up 27% higher than the previous year, says research firm NPD Group. Consumer spending last December, an important month for the industry with holiday shopping in full swing, reached a record $7.7 billion, a 25% increase from 2019. Last year also saw the arrivals of new video game hardware: Sony's PlayStation 5 and Microsoft's Xbox Series S/X. Both devices launched in November. Mat Piscatella, executive director and video game industry advisor for NPD Group, said on Twitter spending in December "could have been significantly bigger" if not for constraints on the supply of PS5s and Xboxes.


Check your health at the door: This high-tech doorbell shown at CES 2021 can check your temperature

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

A new doorbell shown at CES 2021 does more than capture an image of who's at your front step: it will also check whether they have a fever. The makers of the Ettie claim the device is the first video doorbell that combines temperature checks, image recording and real-time alerts. The doorbell uses a built-in infrared sensor to check a visitor's temperature, then logs the data along with their image, date and time to a corresponding app. Plott, the company behind the app, says the doorbell can help with contact tracing amid the COVID-19 pandemic. It is also capable of tracking headcount and will alert users if they've reached peak capacity in a space. The doorbell is slated to launch later in 2021 at a price of $300.


GM shows off flying car idea, the Cadillac Halo

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

General Motors has inched slightly closer to fulfilling its quest to put the world in flying cars. As part of the 2021 virtual Consumer Electronics Show on Tuesday, GM showed renderings and animation of what it dubbed its Cadillac Halo concepts: the Cadillac Personal Autonomous Vehicle, which is like a fancy self-driving taxi, and Cadillac Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) vehicle, a sleek and futuristic drone-like flying car. "The VTOL is GM's first foray into air travel," said Michael Simcoe, GM's vice president of global design. Advances in electric vehicles and other technology are now "making personal air travel possible," he said. Simcoe's presentation came in the middle of GM CEO Mary Barra's keynote address to CES, the annual exhibition normally held in Las Vegas that features the latest technology.


Pokémon ready to go with Katy Perry as muse for 25th anniversary of beloved video game, card franchise

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Pop megastar Katy Perry is game for celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Pokémon franchise. A yearlong celebration is planned to commemorate the 1996 launch of the first Pokémon cards and video games for Nintendo's Game Boy handheld system. While it's uncertain what type of musical festivities are planned, the new Pokémon 25th anniversary website says, "Every party needs a playlist! Pokémon is teaming up with some of the biggest names in music including pop icon Katy Perry, and you're invited to join the fun!" The performer has been a lifelong Pokémon fan "from playing the original video games on my Game Boy, to trading Pokémon TCG cards at lunch, to the adventures of catching Pokémon on the street with'Pokémon Go'," she said in a statement.


The 5 best Amazon deals you can get this Tuesday

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission. It's no secret that Amazon is a one-stop-shop for everything from electronics to at-home essentials. As any good deal-hunter knows, however, it's about more than just convenience: The retailer also reigns supreme in the sales department. Between its daily price drops and best-of-web markdowns, Amazon doesn't skimp on the savings--hence why we're coming at you with five more incredible Amazon deals. Get expert shopping advice delivered to your phone.