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Amazon Echo is a Star Trek computer for your home

Stand aside, Siri. Amazon's Echo smart speaker, with its Alexa voice assistant, has plenty to say. Also, Microsoft makes Office free to use on mobile, and most messaging apps score poorly on security.

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Bridget Carey Principal Video Producer
Bridget Carey is an award-winning reporter who helps you level-up your life -- while having a good time geeking out. Her exclusive CNET videos get you behind the scenes as she covers new trends, experiences and quirky gadgets. Her weekly video show, "One More Thing," explores what's new in the world of Apple and what's to come. She started as a reporter at The Miami Herald with syndicated newspaper columns for product reviews and social media advice. Now she's a mom who also stays on top of toy industry trends and robots. (Kids love robots.)
Expertise Consumer technology, Apple, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, Amazon, Meta, social media, mobile, robots, future tech, immersive technology, toys, culture Credentials
  • Bridget has spent over 18 years as a consumer tech reporter, hosting daily tech news shows and writing syndicated newspaper columns. She's often a guest on national radio and television stations, including ABC, CBS, CNBC and NBC.
Bridget Carey

Amazon has a new female computer voice assistant called Alexa. But she's not on a phone -- she's in a smart speaker called Amazon Echo .

The Echo may be the closest thing we'll have to a Star Trek computer at home. You can ask Alexa common questions, and she'll fetch facts from Wikipedia. You can ask her to play music or set a reminder. But instead of making you a cup of hot Earl Grey tea, she'll help you order tea on Amazon:

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Watch this: Amazon Echo is a Star Trek computer for your home

Also in this tech-news roundup, learn about the new mobile apps that don't require a subscription. You can now create and edit Office documents for free.

But there's bad news for messaging apps. The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports most of today's popular chatting apps are not fully encrypted. Only six apps received a perfect security score: ChatSecure, CryptoCat, Signal/RedPhone, Silent Phone, Silent Text and TextSecure.

CNET Update delivers the tech news you need in under three minutes. Watch Bridget Carey every afternoon for a breakdown of the big stories, hot devices, new apps, and what's ahead. Subscribe to the podcast via the links below.

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