Amazon just announced 15 new Alexa features—here's what to know
The world's No. 1 smart home assistant is getting even smarter
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If you have an Alexa-compatible device in your home, you know that Amazon’s digital assistant is capable of hundreds of tasks, from controlling smart home devices and making phone calls to ordering a Starbucks drink. Alexa already has a seemingly endless number of useful skills, but Amazon just announced that they’re making her even more capable with a host of new abilities.
With the announcement of new Echo devices, Amazon is launching 15 new Alexa skills that will provide even more ways for you to personalize interactions, automate your smart home, stay connected with loved ones, and much more. So, what can Alexa do? The following are all of the new skills that are coming to Alexa in the next few months.
1. Watch Fire TV on the Echo Show 15
The Echo Show 15 has the largest screen of any of the Echo Show devices, and soon, you’ll be able to watch Fire TV content right on the 15.6-inch screen. Your Echo Show 15 will be able to play millions of movies and TV episodes, and you’ll be able to give it commands like “Alexa, play The Rings of Power,” to pull up content quickly and easily.
2. Co-create unique stories
If you have kids and are wondering what can Alexa do with them, then this new skill is going to be one of their favorites. Following prompts on any Echo Show device, children will be able to create animated characters such as pirates, monsters, and astronauts, and Alexa will create an engaging story for them using fun visuals and music.
3. Personalized your everyday routines
Alexa Routines, which allow you to group together several actions in one command, will soon be more personalized. Each person in your household will be able to create individual routines for their specific Alexa Profile—for example, if both you and your partner have a morning routine, Alexa can tell each of you about upcoming meetings based on your individual calendars.
4. View the weather on your calendar
No need to check your calendar separately from the weather anymore. A new Alexa feature will integrate and display weather insights in your calendar view, and you can even receive alerts when rain or snow is in the forecast.
5. Create video sticky notes
With the new video sticky notes, you can leave recorded video messages that can be displayed on your Echo Show screen or viewed in the Alexa app. It’s a great way to leave reminders for your family when everyone is operating on different schedules.
6. Control remote switches
Great news for all you renters out there: Alexa will now support remote switches, such as the Cync Wire-Free Smart Switch. You’ll be able to control these gadgets using voice commands and incorporate them into Routines.
7. Shop for clothing, home, and beauty products
Alexa is getting a new Shop the Look feature that makes it easy for you to find fashion, home, and beauty products on your Echo Show. You’ll be able to browse through products by describing what you want to see, using commands like, “Alexa, show me green yoga pants.”
8. Schedule events for smart devices
If you like to use Alexa to control smart home devices, such as smart lights or locks, you’ll soon be able to schedule events for them up to 24 hours in advance. For instance, you’ll be able to say, “Alexa, turn off the lights in 10 minutes” or “Alexa, lock the door at 10 p.m.”
9. Use your Echo as a hub
If you have a fourth-generation Echo or Echo Show 15, they’ll soon be able to function as a hub in your smart home, connecting to previous generations of Echo devices. For instance, an Echo Dot will be able to connect to your Echo Show 15 and do things like adjust the volume, control the lights, and get the date and time—even without internet connectivity.
10. View multiple smart camera feeds
Soon, you’ll be able to turn your Echo Show into an at-home security system. A new skill will allow you to view two smart camera feeds simultaneously on an Echo Show 5 and up to four cameras at a time on all other Echo Show devices.
11. Call roadside assistance
Flat tire? Out of gas? No problem. You’ll be able to ask Alexa to call a roadside assistance provider with the new Amazon Roadside Assistance skill, which allows you to just pay for the services you need.
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12. Get updates on Whole Foods orders
If you regularly order curbside pick-up from your local Whole Foods, Alexa can now help you manage your order. She’ll notify you when your groceries are ready for pick-up, and you can simply say, "Alexa, check into Whole Foods," to let the store know you’re on the way.
13. Better Hunches on the go
For those with the Echo Auto, Alexa will soon be able to let you know that you forgot to lock the door thanks to improved Hunches. Even if you’re already halfway to work, you can ask Alexa to lock your smart lock on the go.
14. Provide captioning for mobile calls
Call Captioning is already available on Echo Show devices, providing real-time captions during Alexa calls, and this skill is being extended to the Alexa app, as well. The feature is available in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Brazil and supported in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese.
15. Monitor aging loved ones
What can Alexa do for aging loved ones? Amazon is introducing Alexa Together, a service designed to help aging customers feel more comfortable living independently and give their loved ones peace of mind.
The skill provides hands-free access to Urgent Response by asking Alexa to call for help, and up to 10 caregivers can receive alerts about their loved one's smart home interactions, such as a notification when a smart lock is opened.
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