For all the tech industry’s talk of changing the world, sometimes the best innovations aren’t particularly dramatic. They’re ideas that are small—but so clever that they seem obvious in hindsight. They improve the products we already use in ways we can immediately appreciate.

Big breakthroughs and splashy new products tend to get all the attention; for once, here’s a tribute to the small-scale innovations that are just as important.

The Google Home and Google Home Mini. [Photo: courtesy of Google]

An Assistant That Multitasks

Google Home has gained the upper hand in its game of feature leapfrog with Amazon’s Echo, allowing users to string two actions together in a single voice command. Now you can say, “Dim the lights and play some jazz,” or, “What’s on my calendar and what’s the weather?” It’s a small but important step toward making virtual assistants seem less like rigid computer programs–and one that Amazon will surely look to copy before long.

Peak TV Binging

Mesmerizing as the Bojack Horseman theme song can be, do you really need to sit through it again on your sixth consecutive episode? Not anymore, now that Netflix offers a “Skip Intro” button. While the move has led to some fretting about the demise of dazzling title sequences, there are plenty of overwrought intros deserving of veto power. (Now, if only HBO would do something about its mandatory “It’s HBO” splash screens.)

iOS’s Do Not Disturb While Driving Mode. [Photo: courtesy of Apple]

Less Distracted Driving

Years after introducing the problem of texting while driving, phone makers are getting serious about…

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