Geek Culture and Gadgets

Tired of Talking to Alexa? Try Texting Her Instead – Review Geek

Amazon Alexa on an iPhone resting on a MacBook keyboard.

Voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant are handy and helpful to have around. But talking to them isn’t always convenient. If you prefer Google Assistant, you can type to it instead, but Alexa users were out of luck. That is until now—you can now text to Alexa instead of speaking a command. At least, if you’re on an iOS preview.

The Ambient first spotted the change, and for now, it appears to be an iOS-only test. If you have access to the public preview, you should see a new keyboard option when you open the Alexa app.

The company confirmed the test to The Verge, stating:

Type with Alexa is a Public Preview feature available to iOS Alexa app customers allowing you to interact with Alexa without using voice, meaning everything you can currently say to Alexa can now also be typed using your Alexa mobile app. Type with Alexa is available to iOS customers in the U.S.

What’s not clear is how widely the test is rolling out or when it will come to Android. The ability to type to a voice assistant isn’t new; you can already type to Google Assistant and Cortana. But until now, it was voice only with Alexa.

Hopefully, the feature will roll out to more users and platforms soon.

via The Ambient

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Geek Culture and Gadgets

Improve Google TV’s Content Recommendations by Telling It What You Like – Review Geek

A photo of the Chromecast with Google TV and its box.
Justin Duino

One of the best things about Chromecast with Google TV is its personalized show and movie recommendations. But it can take a while for Google TV to figure out your shtick, and even then, it isn’t always accurate. That’s why the latest Google TV update enables you to improve your recommendations by directly telling Google what you like and dislike.

Rolling out this week, Google TV’s latest update includes a “Content Preferences” option in the Settings. After opening “Content Preferences,” Google will ask you to rate a series of shows and movies. Once that’s done, Google applies your new preferences to your Google account, improving recommendations across all of the company’s services.

An animation of the "content preferences" menu on Google TV.

Google is rolling out the latest Chromecast with Google TV update now, but it may take a few days to reach your device. If you don’t see the option to update your content preferences manually, try adding shows and movies that you care about to your Watchlist, and make sure to mark any recommendation content that you’ve already seen as “watched.”

Are your Google TV recommendations still inaccurate? Check out Google’s blog post explaining how to get the best recommendations from Google TV.

Source: Google via Android Central

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Geek Culture and Gadgets

You Can Now Share Subscriptions and In-App Purchases via iCloud Family Sharing – Review Geek

An iPhone 12 Mini with the Family Sharing tab open
Cameron Summerson

You know what’s stupid? Paying for a subscription service multiple times so each person in your family can enjoy it. The good news is that those days are coming to an end thanks to Apple’s new iCloud Family Sharing for in-app purchases and auto-renewing subscriptions. Now you can share the junk you pay for over and over again with the rest of your family.

Developers will need to enable the feature, as it is off by default. Though, some may choose not to make their subscriptions shareable, depending on how the app functions. For example, developers of apps that use IAP for weather data may choose not to enable the feature, as dev-side weather services can be expensive. Thus, a shared subscription or in-app purchase could push the app into a place where it’s no longer profitable. Also, consumable purchases cannot be shareable for obvious reasons.

Apple’s developer portal says:

Family Sharing provides a streamlined convenient user experience and can help you attract subscribers, encourage paid subscriptions, increase user engagement, and improve retention. Sales and Trends reports will be updated soon to help you understand the performance of family subscriptions.

One of the first apps to enable this feature is the writing app Ulysses. I got an App Store notification this morning letting me know that my monthly subscription can now be shared with the rest of my family.

So far, this is the only app we’ve seen that has enabled this feature, but I’m sure more will come on as time passes. Developers will need to assess whether or not they can afford to enable it.

Source: Apple via iMore

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