Tech venture capitalist and author Roger McNamee spoke candidly about his fears that Big Tech firms have become too powerful and are in need of increased oversight. Pointing to the popularity of "Pokemon Go," McNamee detailed the problems that can arise when the public surrenders its privacy in the name of free apps and entertainment.
The world of cooking classes is being expanded with the Food Network Kitchen app, which gives budding chefs access to 500 beginner cooking classes via Amazon, iOS and Android devices. Users can prompt Alexa for ingredients and recipes without touching device screens.
Google has expanded its Assistant features to enable users to purchase movie tickets on their smartphones via a voice prompt. The feature is not yet available on smart home devices.
The Canadian Down Syndrome Society's Project Understood wants to expand the speech patterns smart devices recognize so people with Down syndrome can use the platforms without issue. The project, a partnership with Google, involves having those with Down syndrome record and submit phrases, which will eventually help algorithms analyze the spoken patterns more accurately.
Amazon's shipping ambitions are getting bolder, with executive Jeff Wilke saying 30-minute deliveries will be possible for Prime members in certain areas once the company deploys a full drone fleet. Amazon is already testing self-driving vehicles and sidewalk robots as it works to shave off delivery time.
Gaming writer Sarah Needleman reviews current or coming devices and platforms, as well as subscription services such as Microsoft's Project xCloud and Google's Stadia. She notes that before committing to any platform, gamers should consider their budgets and their playing habits.
Owners of older entertainment devices can modernize them with Amazon's Fire TV Blaster, a small black box that brings voice control to older TVs, receivers and sound bars. Users will need an Echo and a Fire TV Stick to operate the Blaster, which is similar to a universal remote.
The League has unveiled its version of speed dating, in which users will get a chance to participate in three two-minute video dates with preselected candidates every Sunday evening starting next month. The feature is available only to users who have high League scores, which is determined by factors such as app use frequency and profile completeness.
Google's Advanced Protection Program offers an extra layer of security by requiring that a physical security key be close by to grant the user access to Google apps, including Gmail, Drive and Photos. Potential drawbacks include loss of access to Google by various third-party apps, as well as hurdles in reactivating access should the security key ever be lost.
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