Alexa Rolls Out Notifications and Per-User Voice Recognition to More Alexa Developers
Amazon’s voice-powered virtual assistant, Alexa, has been making strides lately. It could already tell you about your commute, make shopping lists, play music, give you the news, control your smart home, and lots more. But one of the features it lacked was notifications. Luckily, Amazon’s on the case: Earlier this year, the retailer announced a developer preview of a notifications feature, and on Wednesday it expanded that preview to more developers ahead of an early 2018 launch.
The notifications feature, which customers can opt into on a per-app basis using the Alexa dashboard, gives developers greater control over Amazon’s Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, and Alexa-enabled third-party speakers. It’s a bit like the Google Home’s “proactive assistance”: Applications can flash or change the color of a device’s lights when a message comes in, for example, or serve up a list of alerts on Alexa-enabled speakers with screens (like the Echo Show). Users, meanwhile, can ask, “Alexa, what did I miss?”, or, “Alexa, read my notifications”, to hear new messages, and can disable or suppress notifications by putting devices in Do Not Disturb mode.
Amazon says they’re already live in Alexa applications like Life360, a family monitoring app that alerts users when loved ones arrive at designated places, and Dominos, which alerts customers about the status of their delivery.
The notifications announcement dovetails with the introduction of another new Alexa feature: Personalized responses. Amazon’s Echo speakers already had the ability to distinguish between multiple users, but early next year, the retailer will let third-party developers take advantage. Amazon’s “Your Voice” can recognize up to ten different voices associated with a single Amazon account; asking for book recommendations or a shopping list, for example, will give individualized results.
If you’re interested in playing around with Alexa’s dev tools, head to the source link to sign up for early access. Users, on the other hand, will have to wait until 2018 until notifications and personalized responses start showing up in their favorite Alexa skills.
Source: Alexa Blogs