Event-based reminders are now possible with Alexa’s new ‘Tell Me When’ functionality

Amazon’s Alexa has gained a new capability for alerting you when a particular event occurs. By saying “Alexa, tell me when…” and completing the request with a number of possible events, Alexa will create a reminder that will be triggered when that event takes place. Events that can be used in this manner include sports, TV shows, holidays, and arriving emails.

In its simplest form, this new “Tell Me When” feature acts as a shortcut replacement for saying “Alexa, when is [something]” and then saying “Alexa, remind me [something] at [time/date].” For example, you’ve always been able to ask “Alexa, when is the Super Bowl” and then, after being told that it will occur on February 7th at 3:30pm, you can choose to follow up with “Alexa, remind me the Super Bowl is on at 3:30pm on February 7th.

Now, with the new capability, you can just say “Alexa, tell me when the Super Bowl is.” Alexa will, as you’d expect, respond with the date and time of the Super Bowl, but then ask “Would you like to be reminded before it starts?” Alexa’s follow-up question is triggered by the use of “tell me when” in the request. Saying yes to Alexa’s follow-up question will automatically set a reminder for the correct date and time of the event.

The “Tell Me When” feature can also be used to set reminders for TV shows if you don’t know when the next episode will air. You can say “Alexa, tell me when [TV show name] is on TV” and Alexa will respond with the date and time of the next episode, along with an offer to create a reminder. While the new feature does cover a lot of events, it seems like it’s still being expanded because many requests that you’d expect this to work for are not resulting in Alexa offering to set a reminder. For example, saying “Alexa, tell me when the next Lakers game is” just results in the game info, but does not give the option to automatically set a reminder.

Amazon has not provided a complete list of all the event types that will trigger these types of reminders, but they have listed one that is unique from the ones already mentioned above. This new feature allows you to now say “Alexa, tell me when [name] sends me an email.” Alexa will then trigger a notification the next time an email is received from that contact. Of course, you have to have your email account linked to Alexa for this to work. This type of event-based notification is particularly interesting because it is unique from all of the other examples Amazon provided since it is not based on a specific date/time, like the other events mentioned.

The automatic reminders created by this “Tell Me More” feature occur only once, even if the event happens frequently. So, if you ask to be told when a TV show airs, you’ll be creating a single reminder for the next airing, but there is no way to be reminded every time that TV show airs. The reminders will also only be heard from the Alexa device that was spoken to by default, but you can go into the Alexa app and manually set the reminder to be heard from all of your Alexa devices.

2 comments
  1. Wrecks says:

    Does this work just once or will you receive a notification every time the person sends you an email?

    Also: “Alexa, tell me when the kitchen light comes on” and “Alexa, tell me when the garage door opens” don’t work. Such simple commands should be easy for Amazon to implement.

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