Alexa Now Lets You Add Any Command to Routines and Sends Personal Reminders to Your Phone Only
Alexa users can customize the commands incorporated into Alexa routines. The new feature allowing users to write out their own additions to the combination of commands Alexa carries out when it hears a key phrase. Routine custom actions, along with personalized reminders from the voice assistant pushed to an individual phone, are part of the latest upgrade package for Alexa.
Alexa routines launched as specific sets of actions created by Amazon. Since then, they’ve become more flexible, adding third-party skills as options late last year and making those custom routines of activities and unique commands sharable a few months ago. The new feature takes that flexibility to the next level by letting users edit the actions Alexa takes at a programmatic level. As an example, Amazon suggests adding the question, “what should I wear?” to the usual good morning routine so that telling Alexa good morning would turn on the lights, alert you to any traffic, and cue Alexa to suggest an outfit based on the weather. The possibilities are as broad as any command you care to give Alexa, from operating smart home devices to telling jokes when you get ready for bed. The actions can be added when users set up a routine in the Alexa app.
Schedule alerts and other reminders are also more personalized with the update. Multiple people can share a single Alexa account, which means asking the voice assistant for the daily schedule brings up everyone’s activities. The new facet builds on the voice profiles users can set up on Alexa devices to differentiate among the household by teaching Alexa the sound of their voice. The voice is then connected to one of the household accounts. Once that’s done, if that person asks Alexa for their schedule, they will only hear the events on their calendar. The same goes for reminders. Instead of every person in the home getting an alert from Alexa, the reminder is pushed just to the phone number linked to that user’s voice, and Alexa makes the announcement only from the device where it was set up, including the user’s name.
The newest features fit with others Amazon has incorporated into its voice assistant this year. As mentioned above, the custom routines people make can now be shared with others. Allowing people to enter questions and commands manually gives even more scope for experimentation and enables Amazon to crowdsource the creative ways people exploit the new feature, especially in concert with each home’s smart home ecosystem. And the personal reminders can include suggestions from Alexa on a few new topics. Last month, Alexa became a literary critic, offering personalized suggestions for what users should read. And for the big Prime Day sale, Alexa shared gift ideas, a feature Amazon is rolling into the holiday season. Alexa can adapt even more to individual interests thanks to Amazon adding the option to tell the voice assistant your own preferences as demonstrated at Amazon’s demo day in September