Having Amazon’s Alexa remind you to do something is great but, unlike Alarms that have to be dismissed, reminders can be easily missed if you happen to be out of the room when the reminder goes off and you don’t see the notification on your phone. If there’s a reminder that you absolutely don’t want to miss, you can now have Alexa follow up on a reminder to ensure you got the message or didn’t forget about it. Read more ›
When you ask Alexa for the weather, the voice assistant’s standard response is to give you the sunniness, current temperature, high temperature, and low temperature. If that’s too much info and you just want to know the day’s high or low temperature, it’s now possible to get just that, as discovered by Reddit user derallo. If you ask “Alexa, what’s the high/low today?,” you’ll now just be told, “Today, expect a high/low of [##] degrees fahrenheit/celsius.” If you want just the current temperature and ask “Alexa, what is the temperature?” you still also get told the day’s high, unfortunately. If all you want is the current temperature, you can use the Alexa Skill Just The Temperature, which lets you say “Alexa, just the temperature” and get back “It’s [##] degrees” as a response. Update: As noted in the comments, it seems like this change isn’t available to everyone yet.
Amazon has recently made it possible to make an Alexa request that doesn’t actually execute immediately. As discovered by Reddit user versaveaux, you can now add “…in X minutes” to the end of an Alexa request to easily schedule the request in the near future. For example, saying “turn off the lights in 10 minutes” will now work as expected. Judging by the comments from some people on Reddit, this new capability may not be available to everyone yet.
Amazon has announced an upcoming Alexa capability called “Customers Ask Alexa” which will allow brands to submit their own answers to questions asked by Alexa users. Instead of providing an answer sourced from the web or crowdsourced from other Alexa users, as is done today, Alexa may soon choose to use a branded answer instead. Read more ›
Amazon has announced a new Alexa capability that can alert you, up to 24 hours in advance, if an item in your shopping cart, wish list, or “saved for later” list is about to go on sale. The alert arrives in the usual manner of Alexa notifications, which is a pulsing yellow light on Echo speakers or a popup on Echo Show devices. Once you receive one of these deal notifications, you can even ask Alexa to automatically buy the item on your behalf once the sale price goes live. Read more ›
Amazon has been testing public transit info for Alexa for nearly a year but it has now announced that the feature is available across the US. You can use it to check the status of particular lines, such as saying “Alexa, what’s the status of the 21 bus?” or “Alexa, are there any delays on the Q train from Penn Station?” When asking Alexa for directions anywhere, you can add “…by public transit” to the request to see which routes are available and what time the next one leaves. If you commute to/from work by public transit, you can now let Alexa know by flipping a toggle setting in the Alexa app under Settings > Commute. Doing so will allow you to ask “Alexa, when’s the next train to work?” or “Alexa, how’s my commute?” and receive information specific to your public transit route.
Amazon has announced that Alexa’s Conversation Mode, first teased a year ago, launches today on Echo Show 10 devices. The new feature allows for more natural back and forth interaction with Alexa without needing to use the wake word before each request. This goes far beyond Alexa’s existing Follow-up mode, which simply keeps Alexa listening after every response, by using audio and visual detection to determine when speech is directed at the Echo device, which Amazon says “represents a major milestone in voice AI.” Read more ›
Amazon has added the ability for 4th-gen Echo and 4th-gen Echo Dots to detect occupancy in a room by emitting an inaudible ultrasound audio wave. The capability can be used to automatically trigger Alexa Routines when you enter or exit a room. When configuring the trigger of a routine, select “Smart Home” and then select the appropriate Echo to be given the option to trigger the routine when “People are detected” or when “People aren’t detected.” You also have the option of enabling or disabling ultrasound motion detection altogether for each compatible Echo device. This is done under the device settings of each Echo within the Alexa app.
Amazon has added the ability to move music playing on one Alexa device to another. Simply say “Alexa, move my music to [Destiniation Device Name]” stop the music that is playing and start it up on the destination device. Alternatively, you can say “Alexa, pause” to the device that is playing music and then say “Alexa, resume music here” to the device that you want to pick up music playback. This also works on Echo Buds and Echo Auto if you want to switch from listening at home to your on-the-go devices. The capability isn’t limited to music, as you can move and resume podcasts and radio stations as well. Just use commands like “Alexa, move my podcast…” or “Alexa, resume radio…” when relevant.
Amazon has added a new feature called Adaptive Listening to Alexa devices, as reported by The Verge. Once enabled, Alexa will give you more time to finish speaking before it starts to respond to you. This will surely be handy for those with speech impediments but will also be nice for anyone who finds that Alexa cuts in mid-sentence when they’re just pausing for a second before completing their request. Read more ›