Amazon is adding notifications to its voice-enabled assistant, allowing users to choose to receive alerts via their Echo devices when one of the services they use has new information waiting for them.
Until recently, Alexa couldn't speak or do anything until a user said the wake word.
The Cloud-Based Wake Word Verification feature means that Alexa's "wake word engine" now follows the initial detection of the name with a secondary cloud-based check that verifies whether the name was actually spoken or not. The first big exception to this rule came when Amazon announced a calling and messaging feature for Alexa devices earlier this May.
The announcement was targeted at developers who make skills for Alexa and includes instructions for how developers can modify their apps to be ready for users.
But businesses and developers will have to seek permission from users before they can send them notifications, Amazon said, noting developers would be able to add notifications to skills "in the coming months" before the company eventually debuts the feature to the wider public. These skills allow you to get the news and weather, order pizza or an Uber, or check your American Express balance. "Users can simply ask, 'Alexa, what did I miss?' or 'Alexa, what are my notifications?'"
These notifications will make their way to you through a chime and green light on the ring on the Echo device you are using at the moment. In the near future, that will change as Amazon looks to enable notifications for services that can alert you as new information arrives that you might find useful.