Launched in 2014, Alexa - Amazon's virtual AI assistant - has certainly transformed over the years. Its capabilities have expanded dramatically since it was first released, and brand-new skills are being added to its repertoire every single day.
This means there's always something new to experience on your Echo, Echo Dot or any other Alexa-enabled device. Today we're going to be looking at some of the most recent Amazon Alexa updates, which have all been created to make your day-to-day easier than ever before.
Whisper Mode has been around for some time in the US, but it’s a newer addition for the UK. It's the perfect solution for late-night users, or anyone who'd simply like to interact with Alexa without disturbing someone else in the home.
Alexa has traditionally been programmed to listen out for loud, clear commands - and the smart assistant will respond in the same manner. Now, however, with Whisper Mode enabled, Alexa can listen out for much quieter requests - you can whisper your commands to Alexa, and it'll whisper back its response.
Turning on Whisper Mode is simple - you can activate it by voice when you say 'Alexa, turn on Whisper Mode' or bypass voice commands completely with the Alexa App. Open it up, select your Alexa Account, tap on Alexa Voice Responses and click Turn On Whispered Responses.
Send travel information to your smartphone
Alexa is packed full of knowledge, and is a brilliant partner when it comes to finding out more about your daily commute or discovering new routes. Now, you can ask it to send the information to your smartphone, so you can access it anytime, anywhere.
How do you this? The steps are really straightforward. Just ask a question - such as 'Alexa, what's the fastest route to work today' - then after you've heard the answer, just say 'Alexa, send that to my phone'.
Audible on Alexa-enabled speaker groups
Ever start listening to your favourite audiobook on your Alexa-enabled device, but end up missing a vital part of the story because you suddenly need to get up to do something? Never miss a moment again, thanks to the new Audible update.
If you own multiple Alexa-enabled devices, you can now access your entire Audible library through a speaker group. You'll need to make sure you have a group set up first before you can continue - this is easy to do, just head to the Alexa app to link individual device.
Once you've done this, you can play your audiobook seamlessly across any Alexa-enabled speaker you own. For example, simply say 'Alexa, read Audible downstairs' just before you leave your bedroom for a smooth transition between speakers, or start your audiobook by saying 'Alexa, read my audiobook everywhere' and it'll play on every Alexa device in your home. Choosing the 'read everywhere' option is a particularly great option if you want to enjoy the same audiobook with multiple family members or flatmates.
Setup severe weather warnings
Alexa has been able to tell you the weather forecast for a long time, but did you know that the AI assistant can now notify you whenever a severe weather warning has been issued in your local area?
Helping you to stay safe, you'll need to say 'Alexa, tell me when there's a severe weather warning' to set the feature up. Once you've done this, you won't have to repeat the command again - Alexa will remember to send you an alert whenever a warning occurs.
If you own an Amazon Echo Show 5 or an Amazon Echo Show 8, you can now scan the barcodes of your favourite items and add them instantly to your Alexa shopping list. Just pick up each product and say 'Alexa, scan this to my shopping list'.
If your barcode isn’t recognised, don't worry. You can still interact with Alexa to complete your list with voice commands. Struggling to add an onion, for example? Simply say 'Alexa, add brown onions to my list' to create the new entry.
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