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Green machines: Ford commits to electrifying cars, trucks, SUVs – and Mustangs?

It’s got the 105kwh pack driving two 240PS spinners out back with the capacitor dump option…

The electrification of the auto industry continues to gather steam – or, rather, electrons – and Ford says they are going to lead the way. Happy Friday, it’s March 16th, and the leaders of the iconic American automaker say they are charting a course for an electrified future – and that current EV leader Toyota is in their sights.

Ford says they’re going to hybridize pretty much their entire automotive lineup, including trucks, SUVs and yes, even the Mustang. Ford just debuted the EcoSport SUV and says more efficient and electrified powertrains are on the way as they don’t want to get caught short with unsellable gas guzzlers if the price of fuel suddenly goes up – which it always seems to do, eventually.

The Ford folks say that by 2021, they plan to sell more hybrids than Toyota – a tall order, given the popularity of the iconic Prius and their other hybrid and electric models. They also say that a suite of driver aids called “Ford Co-Pilot 360” is in the works as the company edges toward a future of self-driving – or at least driver-assisting – cars, trucks and SUVs.

Traditional American automakers have been criticized as lagging behind on EVs and hybrids while Japanese and Euro carmakers have taken the lead. Doesn’t sound like Ford wants to come in second for much longer.

That’s right, Alexa, we’re going to the Dagobah system…

The smart home hub is quickly becoming part of our daily routine, with Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant and other homebots chatting us up as we tell them to turn up the heat, turn on the lights and vacuum the house.

But if you’re tired of the snappy spoken answers to your many requests, Amazon’s Alexa will soon offer something a bit more retro-sci-fi: the “beep” response. It’s called “Brief Mode,” and a user on Reddit says the option basically implemented itself – then disappeared – then reappeared. It’s pretty much what it sounds like: Issue a command, and Alexa will confirm with a beep, rather than a word.

According to The Verge, users will be able to  choose regular or “beep” responses in the Alexa app. It seems like the feature is rolling out now, so check for an app update and start talking to Alexa like it’s a famous robot from the movies.

We’ll get used to it. Quickly.

If you use Google Photos on your Apple iOS device, good news: The future has arrived, and you too can now use “Google Lens” to learn more about the world around you.

Google Lens uses sophisticated machine learning tech to identify objects, words and more in photos. It can convert a business card into a contact file or set an event on your calendar by taking a photo of a flyer or billboard. How? Well, it’s actually reading the words, which is cool, and a bit weird, too. It can even tell you more about a business, landmark or other location. Go here to add it to your iOS device.

We’ve got more news on our Facebook page and YouTube channel, and be sure to tune in to this week’s DT podcasts: Trends with Benefits (general tech shenanigans)  on Thursdays, and Between the Streams (movie and TV topics) every Friday.

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