voice control

Hush, your Samsung Smart TV might be eavesdropping

Hush, your Samsung Smart TV might be eavesdropping

Smart TVs are smart, no doubt about that, but their smartness might come at a price. A review of Samsung's privacy policy, which, like many other such policies, are dense and full of legal gibberish, reveals that the Koeran manufacturer's intelligent entertainment displays transmit even spoken words to a third party. This means that everything you say to that fancy voice control feature is fair game to Samsung, that still unnamed third party, and potential hackers, whether you're telling the TV to switch channels or accidentally revealing details about certain undesirable family members.

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Amazon Echo now lets you control music streaming using voice

Amazon Echo now lets you control music streaming using voice

Amazon's own smart assistant, if you can call her/it that, just got smarter. Alexa now lets you control music streaming via Pandora, iTunes, and Spotify using only the power of your own voice, a feature previously limited to the mobile apps. And that's not the only skills Amazon Echo has learned. She/it has also increased her treasure trove of Wikipedia knowledge and now even knows how to play a game of "Simon Says." All thanks to the latest update that Amazon is now pushing to its cloud-powered smart cylinder.

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“Ok Google” added to always-listening Chromebooks

“Ok Google” added to always-listening Chromebooks

Google has quietly added "Ok Google" support to its bleeding-edge Chromebooks, giving the web-centric notebooks the ability to listen out for voice commands with nary a button press, just as on Android phones and Android Wear smartwatches. The feature, part of the latest developer build available optionally through the Chrome OS Dev Channel, has to be manually enabled, but once active - and after a little voice training - the Chromebook will automatically open up a new search page whenever you say "Ok Google" and the screen is on.

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Google Now supports Nest via voice commands

Google Now supports Nest via voice commands

Over the weekend, we relayed some info about Nest’s new functionality with Google Now. The ability to change your temperature via voice control sounded pretty neat, but also a long way off. It wasn’t, and is now ready for all Nest users. With a simple “Ok, google” voice command, you can now change your home temperature to whatever you like. Not only will you be able to change the temperature, but Google Now will provide a card that tells you when Nest is changing things up.

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Voice-controlling Nest thermostat via Google Now almost ready

Voice-controlling Nest thermostat via Google Now almost ready

It didn't take long after Google's purchase of Nest, the makers of the internet-connected thermostat and smoke alarm, for expectations to begin of how the home devices would begin to fit into Google's various apps and services. In June, a "Works with Nest" program was launched, and it was then teased that in the future we would be able to set a temperature with the command "Ok, Google…" via the Google Now app. Now it looks like the service is almost ready.

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Here’s why Intel makes perfect sense for Google Glass v2

Here’s why Intel makes perfect sense for Google Glass v2

Guess what: Google Glass isn’t dead. The news that Intel will probably be found inside the next generation of Glass wasn’t so much a surprise for its “x86 vs ARM” narrative, but that Google was not only still committed to the wearable project but actively developing it. Although unconfirmed, as the whispers would have it, Intel’s silicon will oust the aging TI cellphone processor found in the current iteration of Glass, quite the coup for a chipmaker still struggling to make a dent in mobile. The switch is about more than just running Glass’ Android fork, however: it could mean a fundamental and hugely beneficial evolution in how Glass operates and how it addresses some of the current shortcomings in battery life and dependence on the cloud.

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Jaguar Land Rover adds justDrive voice control to InControl

Jaguar Land Rover adds justDrive voice control to InControl

Smarter in-vehicle infotainment systems are becoming en vogue, but while some car makers are rallying behind Apple's and Google's initiatives, Jaguar Land Rover is continuing on its own path with InControl, which actually works with both iOS 8 and Android devices. And to further compete with the likes of Siri and Google Now, the car maker has augmented its in-car system with justDrive, a voice-activated multi-purpose app that takes the drudgery of awkward spoken syntaxes and lets users control their connected phones in plain English.

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Sesame tries to be a smartphone you can use without hands

Sesame tries to be  a smartphone you can use without hands

The smartphone is slowly but surely becoming an integral part of our modern lives. But if that's the case, many in society who cannot physically use a smartphone will feel like they're being left in the Middle Ages. Although hands-free features are starting to become fashionable these days, few if not none are developed with the needs of people with disabilities in mind. Those are the needs that Sesame wants to address, by allowing such people to use smartphones simply by uttering the magical phrase "Open Sesame".

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Less.Mail saves you from routine replies using AI

Less.Mail saves you from routine replies using AI

Remember Elon Musk's ominous warning about artificial intelligence bringing about humanity's doom? While we are probably still far, far away from AI-mageddon, our lives, at least our digital ones, are increasingly becoming dependent on AI in one form or another, from the machine learning buried deep beneath search engines, to the more visible, or rather audible, manifestations in Google Now and Siri. Now, there's one more to join that group. Less.Mail is a new app that uses artificial intelligence to let you accept appointments or cancel dates.

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Moto X’s secret weapon: Custom Voice Prompts

Moto X’s secret weapon: Custom Voice Prompts

When Moto X was first launched last year, it came with the first "any screen" voice command system. Re-named Moto Voice, that system is back with the 2014 version of Moto X. To further differentiate from the standard "OK Google" system installed with several Android devices in the wild today, Motorola has added Custom Voice Prompts.

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Siri creators making Viv: AI without limitations

Siri creators making Viv: AI without limitations

Dag Kittlaus, Adam Cheyner and Chris Brigham helped create Siri back before Apple scooped it up for their own. The iPhone 4S was launched with Siri as its headline feature - important enough to supersede the rest of its evolutionarily-boosted specifications. Now this team of creators goes by the name Viv Labs, and they’re making the next generation of what was started with Siri.

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The dirty little secret about in-car voice control

The dirty little secret about in-car voice control

Speaking to your car's dashboard has been hailed by many as the answer to driver distraction, but most systems are flawed, respond poorly, and motorists don't really care about their features, research indicates. Automotive survey heavyweight J.D. Power went digging through reported vehicle quality, and found that lackluster infotainment - substandard voice control systems in particular - was a frequent complaint.

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