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calling

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Eufy Genie catches up to Amazon Echos with new calling and messaging abilities

The Eufy Genie is a popular third-party Alexa-enabled smart speaker from Anker that can usually be picked up for as little as $30, making it a good alternative to the Echo Dot. It hasn't always been as capable as Amazon's own hardware, though, with the omission of calling and messaging being a prime example. The Genie is now finally getting those very features.

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Android Auto less distracting than native infotainment systems, study finds

Research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are less distracting than various infotainment systems built into 10 model year 2017 and 2018 vehicles. The study compared how much attention various tasks require on each platform and found Android Auto's attention demand to be moderate, whereas overall demand of native systems was found to be very high.

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Google Home calling is now live in the UK

You might think making phone calls with Google Home would be a basic function available from launch, but you'd be wrong. VoIP calling eventually came to users in the US and Canada last August, but it's eluded other regions until now. At Google's October 4th hardware last year the UK was promised similar functionality — due to go live later in the year. It's a bit late, but UK Google Home users are finally able to make hands-free calls as of today.

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[Update: Official changelog] Google Voice v5.7 prepares to enable VoIP directly within the app [APK Teardown]

Google has been dabbling in the realm of Internet-based calling for years. First it was Gmail, then Hangouts got in on the action. While there were ways (and even third-party products) to use the Google Voice service for VoIP, it was probably the least enjoyable calling experience we've seen that didn't involve MacGyver-style shorting of exposed wires to dial a number. Now an update to the Google Voice app reveals that it's finally going to make its VoIP capabilities an official feature, and it'll be usable directly from your phone without any hacky workarounds.

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Hands-free Home calling coming to the UK later this year

Country-related news for Google Home continues. Now the focus is hands-free calling on the Google Home. The UK is the latest country to get the feature, coming later this year. 

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You can now make Alexa-to-phone number calls in the US, Canada, Mexico, and Alexa-to-Alexa calls in the UK, Germany, and Austria

Amazon introduced calling and messaging to its Echo speakers back in May then implemented the same feature inside the Alexa app so you could start a call or receive one from your phone, without having to be near your Echo. However, the feature had one main limitation: the person you were calling had to have an Echo or at least Alexa calling set up. Calls to phone numbers weren't possible, but now they are.

Amazon secretly enabled the option a couple of days ago and has now officially added it to the Alexa app changelog. After setting up Alexa calling and messaging in the app's Conversations tab, you can say something like, "Call dad's phone," or, "Call dad's mobile phone number," and it will perform a call to the phone number.

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Google Home voice calling is rolling out in the US and Canada

One of the many announcements we saw at Google I/O 2017 was hands-free voice calling for the Google Home. Instead of Alexa's equivalent feature, which requires both people to have an Amazon account, the Google Home would use VoIP to call standard phone numbers. At long last, the feature is starting to roll out.

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You can now message your Uber driver using the new in-app chat feature

Up to now, the most annoying part of using Uber is when a passenger and driver can't find each other and need to get in touch. Or maybe you want to let your driver know a specific detail about your location ahead of their arrival. There exists the option to use each other's phone numbers for a text or call, but this will come up as an unknown number for either recipient and could go unanswered. The obvious solution to this problem has finally arrived, as Uber has developed an in-app messaging service.

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Google app v7.4 beta prepares for Google Home calling, manual rerouting of voice commands, and more [APK Teardown]

There's another version of the Google app floating around in the wild, and as we've probably become accustomed, it doesn't appear to make any notable changes upon installation. However, there are some interesting elements floating around in the apk. In this update, we can see the first signs of support for making calls with Google Home and a new action that allows users to manually reroute voice commands to the device in their hand. There's also a new feature that looks at your notifications in an effort to give easier access and suggests about your contacts and messages.

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Verizon announces $15/month Unlimited Together plan for unlimited international minutes

With services like Skype, Hangouts, and even Duo, people can easily communicate with each other all across the world without the expensive fees that internationally calling can easily incur. Still, if you have the need to contact people with plain old phones, Verizon is making it slightly easier to do so.

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