Next week we’ll be changing up how we do the tech news roundup. I will be adding news stories as they happen throughout the week, and then on Saturday I will still post a roundup with some basic information, but there will be links back to the full news story on the site.
This way you don’t have to wait until the end of the week to find out the lastest! However, if you still want to just get the highlights at the end of the week, this roundup will be here to help you out!
Don’t forget to follow us on your favorite social media platform! We are @FamilyTech everywhere, so it should be easy to find!
Disney+ adds “continue watching”
If you haven’t already noticed, Disney+ finally added a “continue watching” section to its platform this week. This is one feature that was severely lacking from the launch and was frustrating to many people.
With this addition, and the fact that it doesn’t autoplay anything like Netflix, Disney+ is getting pretty close to being the perfect OTT (over-the-top) streaming service.
Google Ambient mode
If you don’t have the money to purchase a smart speaker, Google is hoping to turn your phone into one. Most can already perform the assistant tasks for you, but when the phone is charging it is harder to use as a smart display.
With Google’s new “Google Assistant Ambient Mode” your phone can be turned into a smart display while it’s sitting on the charger. This mode can show you your calendar, weather, upcoming flights, and notifications. It even features a picture frame settings so you can be shown a slideshow of your favorite photo playlist.
The mode is releasing to “Sony Xperia, Nokia, Transsion, and Xiaomi phones and select Lenovo tablets running Android 8.1 or newer”. Which is interesting given the Pixel is not on this list. I would have assumed it would hit that phone first. Here is a video Google released about it.
Alexa is mad at you
Amazon recently announced that Alexa can now express disappointment or excitement! This is helping to bring our AI experience to a whole new level. When you win a game, Alexa can be excited for you. When you make a mistake she can be upset.
They have opened up these emotional “tones” for developers to use in the skills they create. Amazon states that the voice experience increased by 30% when Alexa was able to respond with emotions. Although Alexa can’t actually FEEL these emotions… yet… it is nice that she can express them.
SiriusXM is giving away Google Nest Hubs!
If you have a car that can use SiriusXM, you are going to want to pay attention to this one, and even if you don’t! The company really wants to show you that you don’t need a car with the capabilities to use SiriusXM in order to benefit from the service.
They are offering a KILLER deal on their service if you pre-pay for 6 months (at a significant discount). Additionally, you will get a FREE Google Nest Hub for your trouble (while supplies last).
If you already pay for SiriusXM, as I do, this offer is really only available to new subscribers. However, I was able to call them on the phone and get them to honor it if I paid for the 6 months (since I was paying monthly).
It is worth noting, that I was on a lower plan than the Select, so I was upgrading my account at the time. Not sure if that will work for someone who is already on the Select or higher plan.
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com