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Roku may be developing a smart speaker (or at least better voice controls)

Roku was one of the first major players in the streaming media hardware space, and the company continues to offer a compelling lineup of entry-level, mid-range, and premium TV streaming devices. But Roku faces plenty of competition from companies including Apple, Google, Amazon, and Samsung, which puts pressure on the company to offer competitive new […]

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Amazon’s Alexa now lets you order millions of things with your voice

The Alexa voice service that powers Amazon’s Echo and other products lets you do things like ask for news updates or weather forecasts, adjust the temperature on your smart thermostat, play music, or get answers to your questions. Unsurprisingly for an Amazon product, Alexa has also always included a shopping component: ask Alexa to re-order […]

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Now you can try Amazon Echo… in a browser

Want to take Amazon’s Alexa voice service for a spin, but don’t want to spend money on an Amazon Echo or another product with Alexa support? All you need is a web browser. Amazon has launched Echosim.io, a website where you can interact with with a virtual Amazon Echo. It’s aimed at developers, but anyone can […]

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Amazon brings new Alexa voice controls to Fire TV

Amazon’s Fire TV products already support Alexa voice search features if you use a voice-enabled remote control or the Fire TV app on your smartphone to control your TV box. But Amazon has announced that it’s rolling out new Alexa features for the Fire TV platform, allowing you to do more things using just your […]

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Report: Google’s Amazon Echo-like product is code-named “Chirp”

Apple, Google, and Microsoft all have software that lets you talk to your phone to perform some actions or get answers to your questions. Siri, Cortana, and Google’s voice search tools can come in handy in the car, around the house, or in other places where you may not want to use your hands to […]

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CoWatch smartwatch users Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service (crowdfunding)

There are plenty of smartwatches that support voice control. Most use Google’s Voice Search, Apple’s Siri, or whatever Samsung calls its Tizen-based voice recognition software. But the CoWatch is different: it’s the first watch to use Amazon’s Alexa voice service. You know, the one that powers the Amazon Echo line of products and Amazon Fire […]

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How Google got its (new) voice

Google’s search apps have been able to listen to your voice and respond with speech for years. Want to get directions to your next appointment? Google Maps can read them to you out loud. Wondering what the capital of New Zealand is? Ask Google Search and the app will tell you it’s Wellington. But while […]

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“Hey Cortana” voice activation no longer works with Android phones

A few weeks after officially launching its Cortana personal assistant software for Android, Microsoft has removed a key feature. You can no longer start a search or ask a question simply by saying “hey Cortana.” According to Engadget, Microsoft removed the feature because it conflicts with Google’s “OK Google” voice activation feature. You can still use […]

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Google search learns to answer more complex questions

Google is rolling out an update for its search apps that should allow you to get answers to more complicated questions. Google says its apps now understand questions with complicated combinations, such as “What was the US population when Return fo the Jedi was released.” That question, if you break it down, requires Google to know that […]

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Google removes “OK Google” hotword from Chrome for Windows, Mac, and Linux

Google seems to be doing a little spring cleaning in the Chrome web browser. While the company’s been adding features to Chrome for years, the latest version of Chrome for Windows, Mac, and Linux is missing a few features that had been available in earlier versions. We already knew Google was killing the notification center. […]

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Microsoft Cortana assistant for Android leaked a bit early

Microsoft’s Cortana software is a digital personal assistant that can respond to voice or text commands or questions. First introduced for Windows Phone, Cortana will be a key component of Windows 10 when it launches July 29th. Cortana is also coming to iOS and Android. And if you don’t feel like waiting for Microsoft to officially release […]