Notifications from Amazon and Alexa skills will soon be coming to all Alexa-enabled devices. This includes Amazon’s own Alexa devices, like the Echo and Echo Dot, as well as 3rd-party devices, like the newly released Ecobee4 smart thermostat. All notifications will be opt-in per skill through the Alexa app, so you’ll have to explicitly turn them on separately for each Alexa skill.
Alexa notification will have both a visual and audible indicator. Just like the new calling feature for the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot, those devices will beep and light up a green light when a notification arrives. For devices that have a screen instead of an LED light, like the Fire TV and Echo Show, the visual indication of a notification will be displayed on the screen.
When a notification comes in or is waiting, you’ll be able to say “Alexa, what did I miss?” or “Alexa, what are my notifications?” to hear the notification. You’ll be able to put Alexa-enabled devices in a Do Not Disturb mode by voice or through the Alexa app to temporarily suppress notifications, if you don’t want to disable them altogether.
The first Alexa skills to gain notifications will be the AccuWeather and The Washington Post skills, as well as upcoming Just Eat and Life360 skills. AccuWeather will provide weather update notifications, The Washington Post will provide breaking news alerts, and Just Eat will provide order confirmations. Amazon will collect feedback for those notifications through the Alexa app to improve user experience before allowing other skills to use notifications.
Notifications on an always-on speaker can be very useful, but also have the potential to be very annoying, so it’s good to see that Amazon is being very cautious with this new feature. By forcing all Alexa skills to require the user to manually enable notifications and by first testing out the feature with a few trusted skills, it should help ensure that notifications become a welcomed addition.