A new update that rolled out recently allows Amazon voice assistant Alexa to make a call or read emails in behalf of the user.
Starting Monday, Alexa will be capable of attending to location- and time-based commands. The location support meant one can ask the assistant to notify him/her of a certain chore or task in a specific location, provided that it is updated and the location is given.
For example, users can instruct the assistant to bring up a reminder once they left their homes or to remind them of a task upon reaching the office. The location-based reminders were announced in September, but are only making its way to Alexa users now.
As for the time-based routines, one can also set time-sensitive reminders and the virtual assistant will immediately notify. What's more is that users who aren't near the device can get push notifications via the app. For instance, people can ask Alexa to turn off music at a certain time, instead of waking up to a battery-drained device.
Perhaps one of the highlights of the recent update is the capability of Alexa to read a user's email, of course, with a signal of a voice command. With this feature, which is currently only available to U.S. users, one can ask the voice assistant to not just check emails, but also to read the content.
Not only that, but upon opening an email, Alexa will provide options whether to delete, archive, read the entirety of the content, or to reply to the message. All it takes is one's command. However, this is limited to Gmail, Hotmail, Live.com, and Outlook users.
"[W]hile it's neat, having Alexa read a bunch of emails is kind of tedious. It felt like going through a huge voicemail inbox, which I hate to do," CNBC's Todd Haselton said of his experience.
However, he pointed out that it would be extremely helpful to people who have a lot on their hands — in the morning while preparing to go to work or when driving to a destination.
Moreover, Alexa can now call businesses and stores in behalf of the user. Before, the voice assistant was only capable of finding the phone numbers of establishments, but now it can actually dial it up for owners. Of course, it wouldn't actually place the orders for users, but it will mean less work on their part.