One of the core features that has been available through Alexa-enabled devices since the beginning is the ability to add items to a shopping or to-do list. While Alexa’s lists can be accessed through the Alexa app and Amazon’s website, the functionality is as barebones as you can get. That finally changes because Amazon has introduced a new List Skill API that will allow Alexa’s list making feature to work directly with 3rd-party shopping and to-do list apps. There’s no need to launch a special Alexa Skill first or anything like that. Two of the most popular list making apps, Any.do and Todoist, were given early access to this new feature and have already integrated it into their apps.
Once you connect your Alexa account to either of these services, saying “Alexa, add ____ to my shopping/to-do list” will automatically be relayed to the 3rd-party app. Since these dedicated list apps are much more feature rich than the lists managed by Amazon, they recognize dates and context. For example, you’ll be able to say something like “Alexa, add take out the trash cans every Monday morning to my to-do list” and these 3rd-party apps will automatically create a recurring item in your to-do list for every Monday morning that says “take out the trash cans.”
If you link Alexa to a 3rd-party list making app, you’ll also be able to ask “Alexa, what’s on my shopping/to-do list” to hear back the items on your list from those services. This works even if you didn’t use Alexa to add the items to your list and instead used the 3rd-party apps directly.
Amazon has been slowly but steadily opening up Alexa’s core functionality to 3rd-party services and developers. Earlier this month, Alexa’s flash briefing functionality became available for any developer to tap into. A few months ago, users of Alexa-enabled devices gain the ability to select a 3rd-party service to use as the default music and radio source on their device. It’s great to see Amazon’s willingness to open Alexa to 3rd-parties and not lock their devices to use only Amazon services.