Alexa app now tracks the Power Consumption of your Smart Home Devices in new Energy Dashboard

The Alexa app has been updated to include a new feature called the Energy Dashboard that attempts to estimate the power consumption of your smart home devices. The dashboard charts the power usage of smart lights, plugs, thermostats, and more over time so that you can see which smart devices use the most energy and whether your power usage is trending up or down. While Alexa’s new energy dashboard does seem to report power usage figures from smart devices that report their energy consumption, it also works with more basic smart devices by simply tracking how long each one is powered on during a given timeframe. Read more ›

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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. Read more ›

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Alexa can now trigger routines when it detects Crying Babies, Snoring, or Coughing

A new Sound Detection option for configuring when an Alexa Routine is triggered has begun appearing in the Alexa app for some Amazon Echo owners. When selected, the option allows for Alexa Routines to be triggered by the sound of a baby crying, a person snoring, or when someone coughs. These new options seem to be rolling out slowly to customers in the US. Read more ›

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Alexa now supports group calling on Amazon Echos and Echo Shows

Amazon says that group calling is now available for audio calls through an Echo or video calls through an Echo Show. The feature supports up to 7 participants and is available in Austria, Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Italy, Mexico, New Zealand, Spain, the US, and the UK. You can go into the Alexa app to create a group containing multiple contacts and then call that group at once by saying “Alexa, call [group name].” Read more ›

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Alexa can now play Podcasts from Spotify in 11 more countries

About a year ago, Alexa gained the ability to play podcasts from Spotify in the US. That capability is now also being made available in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Canada, Brazil, India, Austria, and Ireland. Once you have Alexa linked to Spotify, you’ll be able to say “Alexa, play [podcast name] podcast on Spotify” to start listening. Easy as that. Once the podcast episode is playing, you should be able to use the usual podcast commands to control playback.

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Fire TVs can now automatically show Picture-in-Picture feeds of Video Doorbells and Security Cameras

Amazon has announced that select Fire TV models can now automatically display picture-in-picture (PIP) feeds of video doorbells and security cameras when an action occurs. When a Ring Video Doorbell is pressed, the Fire TV will bring up a live feed of the doorbell’s camera in the upper right corner of the screen without taking you away from what you’re watching. If you’d like, you can then say “Alexa, talk to [Ring doorbell device name]” to begin a two-way conversation between the Fire TV and the doorbell. To go full screen with the video feed, you can say “Alexa, show [Ring doorbell device name]” as usual. Read more ›

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Amazon’s Alexa now does Live Translations on Echos and Echo Shows

Amazon has launched a Live Translation feature for Alexa that will translate between two languages in real-time. The feature uses an Amazon Echo or Echo Show to translate conversations between English and French, German, Hindi, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish. Read more ›

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Netflix is now available on Amazon Echo Shows

Netflix has officially arrived on Amazon Echo Show smart displays. The integration was announced a few months ago and now all Echo Show models can stream Netflix directly. The service works on the 1st-gen Echo Show, 2nd-gen Echo Show, Echo Show 5, and Echo Show 8. The Echo Spot is the only Echo model with a screen that is not supported, which is no surprise considering its screen is so small. Read more ›

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Fire TVs now show contextual Alexa Suggestions when you press the Remote’s Voice Button

New software updates are currently rolling out to nearly all Amazon Fire TV models. While these updates aren’t the ones that are adding the new redesigned interface, they are adding a feature that might help you get more out of Alexa. When you press the microphone button on your Fire TV remote, you’ll now sometimes see suggestions across the bottom of the screen for what you can say to Alexa. These suggestions are contextual, meaning they are mostly relevant to the Fire TV screen that you are currently on. Read more ›

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Alexa responses can now display Captions on Amazon Fire TVs

Amazon has added a new accessibility feature to Fire TV devices that allows you to enable text captions for Alexa responses. The new option prints what Alexa is saying in a customizable box at the bottom of the Fire TV screen so that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can better understand Alexa. Those who don’t have impaired hearing may also find the captions useful if they aren’t fluent enough in Alexa’s various language options. The feature can also be used to silently see Alexa’s response, such as at night, while the TV is muted. Read more ›

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