Alexa will support notifications in an upcoming update

Alan Olson
May 17, 2017

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.

Right now, Amazon and Best Buy are trying to help make that situation easier by offering a discounted two-pack of the Amazon Echo smart speaker. The ability to add notifications to skills and devices will be made available through. both Amazon's software and hardware development kits, but initially it's going to roll out for a small group of select partners skills, as well as for shopping updates.

Now, however, Alexa can chime in without instructions to "alert customers with information that's important to them".

Anyone who has an Amazon Echo will know how annoying it can be when the device activates itself after falsely detecting that someone has uttered its wake word - usually "Alexa". These skills allow you to get the news and weather, order pizza or an Uber, or check your American Express balance.

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Users can also ask "Alexa, what did I miss?" or "Alexa, what are my notifications?"

Notifications will be opt-in, so don't worry about your Echo devices all of a sudden buzzing at you with unwanted info.

It will be interesting to see how developers use this feature in the future. Amazon has said that all skill notifications will require the user to opt in first, with the options to disable notifications by skill or to temporarily suppress all of them with a Do Not Disturb mode. This is pretty useful as this also means that the Echo will not be ruining the ambiance of your house on its own by yelling out news all the time.

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