Amazon has announced it's rolling out yet more abilities for Alexa, including location-based reminders and routines, the ability to check your email, support for calling local businesses and more.
With the new features, which will arrive for US users in the coming days, you'll be able to use your phone's location to trigger routines and reminders. For example, you could have Alexa start your 'Coming home' routine when your phone detects you've left work. Or you could set a reminder to defrost the chicken when you return home.
Read this: How to use Alexa routines for a smarter home
You'll need location sharing to be on in the app for this to work, and Amazon will let you personalize your locations to make this process easier. And should you not have an Echo or other Alexa speaker nearby for location-based reminders, they'll appear as a pop-up notification on your phone instead.
Here are the other incoming features:
Check and send emails with Alexa: If you like, you can now say, "Alexa, check my email" and it will give you a summary of your messages from the last 24 hours. You'll then be able to read, reply, delete or archive messages, or even ask Alexa, "did I get any email from [contact name]?" Amazon says you can link your Gmail, Outlook.com, Hotmail and Live.com accounts to Alexa. To keep things secure in shared households, everyone at home can connect their accounts with a personalized PIN.
Find and call businesses: Alexa is getting better at tracking down nearby businesses and restaurants. You can ask, "Alexa, where is the nearest Trader Joe's?" and then follow up with, "Alexa, call them". Or you could ask, "Alexa, what's the number for Domino's?".
FreeTime within Alexa routines: If you're a parent, you can set up kid-friendly routines on FreeTime-enabled Echo speakers, like a 'Good night' routine that perhaps gives your kids a good night message, turns out the lights and plays sleep sounds. Speaking of, Amazon's adding a sleep timer for music within Alexa Routines, so if you want to drift off to some soothing sounds, you can have them shut off after a specified period of time. Speaking of which, Amazon's added a Do Not Disturb mode to Alexa routines so you can have your 'Good night' routine stop your devices from blaring at night.
Actions, announcements and more within Alexa routines: There's a bunch more features getting added to Alexa Routines including the ability to add wait actions. This one's especially handy, allowing you to stretch our your routines. So you could have your morning routine turn on the lights at 7am and read you the weather at 7:30am. Additonally, you can now send a pre-recorded voice message to all your Alexa devices within your routines.
You can even now send out push notifications as part of routines. So you could have Alexa send a message to your other family members when it recognizes you've left the office and triggers your 'Coming home' routine. And if you're leaving to work in the morning, the update grants the ability to stop audio on your Alexa devices, should you be playing music from them.
Finally, Amazon is tweaking Alexa Timers so you can add or remove time. Just say, "Alexa, add/remove X minutes to/from my timer]".