17 December 2018
Amazon Alexa has received a big update today, which brings new features to the voice assistant. The company has rolled out features including location-based routines, reminders and discovery. There are Wait Actions and more controls over timers; app notifications; as well as the ability to read and summarize your email vocally with voice-to-text replies.
Users will now be able to set up routines and reminders which trigger when you enter or leave an area. The Alexa app will be able to use your location to find and call nearby businesses. The company has also added Time-based capabilities in routines introduce Wait Actions so a Night routine of “Alexa, turn off the lights 30 minutes after entering Do Not Disturb", and others may be available.
Users can also set a music sleep timer, and control all timers via voice. There is also a feature that also sets up FreeTime routines for kids. Alexa has also got the ability to link to your Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail and Live.com accounts which can be used to read, respond to, summarize, notify and manage all your emails. You can also prioritize messages or emails for specific contacts. However, all these changes and features bring about security concerns.
Amazon stated: "Amazon adheres to the policies put in place by email providers that restrict the use of [email] content for particular purposes, like advertising. By linking your account, some of your contacts and email are stored in the cloud to provide the service. This information is encrypted and stored securely in Amazon's servers." About your contacts, it will use them "only to deliver the email and/or calendaring service you've linked."