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Amazon Alexa: is it friends with your kids?

BBC News

The tech giants are racing to get digital assistants into our homes - the Amazon Echo Dot currently has a 40% discount during Amazon Prime Day - but debate rages over whether they are suitable for children. There have certainly been teething problems. Toy giant Mattel abandoned its "AI babysitter", Aristotle, last year following privacy concerns. And music streaming service Spotify is currently testing a way of filtering out songs with explicit lyrics following complaints from parents that family-friendly versions of tracks did not play by default when requested on smart speakers. Amazon Echo meanwhile added a feature to encourage children to be more polite to it following concerns that the abrupt way in which people talk to it was teaching children to be rude.


Amazon Echo Dot vs. Google Home Mini

PCWorld

You've just noticed a great price on an Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini smart speaker. The prices are intended to make them impulse purchases, because both Amazon and Google are desperate to get their foot in the door of your home. Voice assistants and smart home automation are expected to be the next big thing in tech, and both companies know that once you experience the convenience of a smart speaker in one room, you're likely to want it in others. Before making a purchase, you really should do your homework. It all comes down to the hardware, the capabilities of their digital assistants, and the way they can do things such as play music and control other smart devices in your home.


Google Home, Mini, and Max are all deeply discounted at Walmart through July 17

Mashable

The Google Home is one of the top home assistants on the market right now with a few different models to choose from. Whether you need news and weather updates or hands-free calls, Google Home can take care of many needs. With three versions available, there's no bad decision to make, especially since they can be linked together. And if you run to Walmart.com through July 17, you can load up thanks to sales on all three smart home devices. If you're looking to dip your toe into the digital assistant game, the Google Home Mini is a great place to start.


Dish Network's 'Hopper' DVR now offers Google Assistant voice controls

Mashable

Dish Network customers won't have to change the channel from their remote controls anymore. Now, they can just ask Google. Dish Network announced on Monday that all generations of its Hopper DVR set-top boxes will be compatible with Google Assistant, allowing customers to control the channel with their voice. The feature is compatible with Google Home speakers and the Google Assistant app on iOS and Android. The update marks a major shift for Dish Network, who will now give voice control options to the "tens of millions" of people who have bought a Google Home smart speaker.


Google Assistant brings voice control to Dish Hoppers

Engadget

Dish launched Alexa support for its Hopper and Wally set-top boxes last year, so the devices can already do your bidding with just a spoken command. Now, the satellite TV provider is giving you another voice control option: one that should make you happy if you prefer Google's AI to Amazon's. So long as you have an Android device, an iPhone loaded with the AI's app or an Assistant device such as a Home speaker or a Home mini, you can navigate its channels and shows with your voice. You can ask Assistant to play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and adjust the volume of what you're watching. If you have no idea what to watch, you can also search for shows based on channel, title, actor and genre.


Sonos' IPO Filing Shows Risks of Relying on Amazon and Apple

WIRED

There are smart speakers, which connect wirelessly to other devices, and then there's the new era of smart speakers, designed to offer services through voice-controlled virtual assistants. Sonos, for a long time, was all about the former, having been a pioneer of high-quality, WiFi-connected speaker systems. Now it's entered the next era with products like Sonos One and Sonos Beam, which work with Amazon's Alexa and other virtual assistants. But Sonos' partners are also rivals, and Sonos' reliance on companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple makes it vulnerable, as it revealed in filing for an initial public offering Friday. To cite one example: Amazon can disable Alexa on Sonos devices any time, with "limited notice," according to the filing.


5 essential tech options for your new car

FOX News

A car is never just a car. Yes, there's the engine, windshield, and axle; these parts have been fundamental to cars since they were known as "horseless carriages." But the modern automobile is heavily computerized, with oxygen sensors, a stability controller, a powertrain module, and a vast network of other functions. Now, cars are more sophisticated than ever: Bluetooth, rear-view cameras, and zoned temperature controls are standard features in 2018 models. Too many people don't think about the vast amount of data collection that happens.


5 essential tech options for your new car

USATODAY

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto both come standard on the 2018 Crosstrek (Photo: Reviewed.com A car is never just a car. Yes, there's the engine, windshield, and axle; these parts have been fundamental to cars since they were known as "horseless carriages." But the modern automobile is heavily computerized, with oxygen sensors, a stability controller, a powertrain module, and a vast network of other functions. Now, cars are more sophisticated than ever: Bluetooth, rear-view cameras, and zoned temperature controls are standard features in 2018 models.


Prepare now to save for Amazon #PrimeDay on today's Talking Tech

USATODAY

Have you been wanting to buy one of those Amazon Echo talking speakers, but never got around to it? Mark Monday, July 16 on your calendar: there will probably be a great deal on one. Amazon's Prime Day is set for Monday, July 16th, the made-up summer holiday that's turned into one of the e-tailer's biggest sales day of the year. On today's episode of #TalkingTech, we offer tips on how to start preparing now to save on Prime Day, one of Amazon's biggest sales days of the year. The sale starts Monday July 16 at 12 p.m. Pacific/3 p.m. Eastern.


Need to know why baby is crying? There's an app for that and Trevor Noah is skeptical

USATODAY

Barbie becomes a robotics engineer, a new app for baby and Siri gets mad. You can now talk to Alexa through your iPhone, Barbie is becoming a robotics engineer and an app can tell you why your baby is crying -- the late-night comics talk about the newest rollouts related to technology, and why some of it isn't as impressive as you might think. Late-night comic Trevor Noah kicks things off by pointing out why, when it comes to parenting, apps can't replace good old fashioned common sense. Seth Meyers gives us the mansplaining Ken doll and Jimmy Fallon gets in some woman trouble. Find out why Siri tells him off in today's Best of Late Night, above.