Amazon on Monday rolled out a major update to its lineup of Alexa-enabled devices. The update brings numerous new features, including support for location-based reminders and routines, the ability to call local businesses by voice, the ability to check your email on supported Alexa devices, and more.
These features were previously introduced this fall at Amazon’s Echo event in Seattle, alongside a host of other capabilities for the smart assistant, including things like hunches, cooking instructions, multi-step requests and more. However, not all the announced features had yet to roll out to Alexa device owners.
Support for location-based routines and reminders means a user could tell Alexa on their phone, “Remind me to feed the fish when I get home.” When the user arrives home, Alexa would remind them to feed the fish.
Location-based routines can be triggered on arrival or departure of a designated location. Locations can be saved in the Alexa app for use in routines and reminders.
Users can also now add “wait actions” to routines. A “good night” routine could turn off all of the lights in the house excepting the one on the bedroom, play news or music on the Alexa device in the bedroom, and then turn off the lights in the bedroom 30 minutes later.
Users can also use routines to enable Alexa’s Do Not Disturb functionality or stop audio from playing. Routine can also integrate with push notifications and announcements. Push notification support allows users to set routines to push notifications to other users. Timer support has been updated to offer the options to add and remove time.
Location support allows users to make queries such as “Alexa, where is the nearest McDonalds?” Alexa will automatically search the nearby area for an answer to the query. Alexa also now boasts support for email, allowing users to hear their latest emails by asking, “Alexa, check my email,” or “Alexa, do I have any emails from Julie?”
All of the new features are rolling out to Alexa devices in the United States. However, the process could take several weeks, so be patient if you don’t see it on your device quite yet.