Alexa Won’t Read Your Emails Anymore
Amazon is disconnecting Alexa from email accounts and ending the voice assistant’s ability to read emails out loud, according to a note sent to Alexa users. The feature will shutter next week, almost exactly three years after Amazon introduced the option in December of 2018. You can see the whole message to the side.
Alexa Out Of Email
The “Alexa, read my email” command enabled the voice assistant to read any emails in a connected account received within the last day or check if a particular contact had sent an email. The feature could be included in an Alexa routine to get a summary of recent emails from the voice assistant as well. Alexa could delete, archive, or reply to the email as the user wished. The note from Amazon lets users know that Gmail and Microsoft Outlook accounts will be automatically unlinked from Alexa. The voice assistant won’t be able to access, read, or respond to emails in those accounts. Any Alexa routines using those features will stop working, and the automatic package tracking from emails won’t be available anymore. The Amazon package tracking will still work, however, as will the calendars related to those accounts.
Siri and Accessibility
The company didn’t give a reason for the retraction, which stands out amidst a deluge of new Alexa options and abilities. It may have been a matter of resources for a feature that isn’t used much, or perhaps it raised privacy questions the company didn’t want to be an issue. Alexa users with impaired vision are likely to be the most affected, as Alexa offered a way to communicate by email without needing a screen. Many in the blind and low-vision community complained when Apple did precisely the same thing with Siri just last month. The new iOS 15 removed Siri’s ability to read and reply to emails, too, a remarkable coincidence in timing. We’ve reached out to Amazon to find out more.