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5 great things in tech today: smarter Siri and Alexa, new gadgets and more

Apple HomePod

There's always plenty happening in the world of tech, and for today's roundup – courtesy of our friends at TechRadar – we've got updates on the upcoming HTC U12 smartphone, Facebook privacy controls, and some upgrades coming down the pipe for Siri and Alexa.

1. Take back control of your Facebook data

Facebook

Facebook

Facebook must have been stung by the recent furore over user data leaking out through the use of third-party apps – like pointless personality quizzes – and the social network now makes it easier for you to unplug apps that you aren't using. Instead of disconnecting each one individually, which you've had to do in the past, you can now select a load in bulk and ditch them. Follow the TechRadar link to get full instructions for the new feature.

2. Manage images on the go with the Gnarbox 2.0 SSD

Gnarbox 2.0 SSD

The Gnarbox 2.0 SSD

A brand new gadget to help you manage your digital camera photos out on the road, and save you having to lug a laptop around with you instead – the Gnarbox 2.0 SSD can accept and back up images over USB or via a memory card slot, with enough battery power to transfer 36,000 images. It has an integrated screen, up to 1TB of storage, and it's waterproof and rugged as well, making it perfect for your next outdoors photo shoot.

3. The latest leaks on the HTC U12

HTC U12

The HTC U12, supposedly

One of the upcoming 2018 flagship phones you should be getting most excited about is the HTC U12. It isn't expected until the middle of the year, but we've been hearing a lot about it thanks to the internet's army of leakers and tipsters – the latest news on the phone comes in the form of some sneak preview images, showing a dual-lens camera and dual-LED flash around the back of the phone, plus a dual-lens camera around the front.

4. Your Amazon Echo just keeps on getting smarter

Amazon Echo

The Amazon Echo

If you're an Echo owner then you'll want to know about a couple of new Routines added to the smart speaker's skillset – those combinations of commands that let Alexa handle a succession of tasks at once. The new Routines cover music and live radio, so you could queue up tunes from a specific artist at a specific volume on your music service of choice, for instance. You can even schedule these Routines to spring into life at certain times.

5. ...and Siri might be catching up soon too

Apple HomePod

The Apple HomePod

Apple's Siri digital assistant seems to get fewer updates than its rivals from Amazon and Google, but that could change in the near future – Apple has been on a hiring spree to collect together an army of new Siri engineers, and it also just nabbed Google's head of artificial intelligence and search for its own AI efforts, John Giannandrea. Once he gets his feet under the table, expect to see some serious Siri upgrades start rolling out to users.