Alexa’s flash briefing feature is a great way to hear a summary of news from multiple sources, but if you want a more detailed news report, there’s now a new feature that will give you just that. Alexa customers in the US can now ask their devices to “play news” or “tell me the news” from a specific news organization, as reported by Engadget. Doing so will play what is essentially a playlist of news stories from that one publication, with each story being longer than what you get during a flash briefing. Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Fox News, Newsy, and NPR are the first to provide the new format. If you’re not interested in the story being played, you can simply ask for the next story to skip ahead. Alexa devices with screens, like the Echo Show and Fire TVs, will play news videos when available.
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Tagged with: Alexa
, Flash Briefing
There are already over 3,000 different Flash Briefing skills to choose from for Alexa, but Amazon has added a new one of their own. “Today in Music” is a new daily program from Amazon that helps uncover interesting content available through Amazon Music Unlimited. The show covers new releases and music history. It plays short clips of tracks mentioned as well as short interviews with highlighted artists. If that sounds like something that interests you, just ask Alexa to “enable Today in Music” and the program will play first the next time you ask for your flash briefing, which can be done by saying “Alexa, what’s new?” You can disable the flash briefing or manage the order that its played in the Alexa app under Settings > Flash Briefings.
A reader of the site has created an unofficial AFTVnews flash briefing that you can hear through your Alexa devices. He is using the site’s standard RSS feed, so it’s not a perfect experience. For starters, Alexa does not read the title of each post before reading the post itself. It also cuts the post off abruptly by saying “read more,” since the RSS feed provides a “read more” link for text readers to click, which obviously doesn’t make sense in the case of an Alexa flash briefing. Despite the issues, give the flash briefing a try if you tend to use that aspect of Alexa, and let me know in the comments if you’d like me to work on improving the experience.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon has announced that they’ve released a video flash briefing that will contain a daily monologue recap from the previous night’s show. The Tonight Show Monologue skill will let Amazon Echo Show owners watch the monologue on their device along with their usual flash briefings. Other flash briefing providers will also be adding video to their daily updates, including Bloomberg, CNN, CNBC, People, and TechCrunch, but The Tonight Show will be the first to offer a recap-segment. Jimmy Fallon revealed the new flash briefing through a video on his twitter account where he demonstrated it on a pre-release Echo Show.