Amazon updated the Alexa Android app with Groups, Routines, and more additions meant to ennoble the overall user experience of the company's artificial intelligence service by making it more versatile. The newly introduced features started rolling out on Thursday and should already be available to users in the United States, Germany, and the United Kingdom, the firm said. Other territories where Alexa is available in some capacity like India won't be receiving the same functionalities for the time being.
The additions themselves were all designed to make Alexa more capable of controlling various Internet of Things devices and ennoble one's smart home setup. Amazon's main intention for creating Alexa-enabled Groups was to provide users with the ability to easily control their IoT gadgets in bulks, and to provide them with the option of issuing commands to specific devices without having to remember and call out their specific names. The screenshot below illustrates the new possibilities created by the update, as e.g. Echo owners are now able to assign specific speakers to individual rooms and say something like "Alexa, play music in the bedroom." While the procedure still requires some setting up on the part of end users, the sole fact that it's possible should ultimately allow Alexa to respond to commands in a more intelligent manner.
The added Routines feature also has a rather self-explanatory name, being designed to allow users to trigger a sequence of actions with a single command. The functionality allows you to set up the digital companion in a way that enables you to e.g. unlock your front door, turn on the living room lights, and start playing music by saying "Alexa, I'm home" instead of having to issue all of those commands individually. The final addition to the Alexa Android app introduced earlier this week comes in the form of a straightforward control hub for all of one's IoT devices connected to the AI assistant. The newly introduced automation capabilities rely on manufacturers being willing to update their Smart Home Skill offerings to support them, though many of them like August, Honeywell, and Next already did so, and Amazon said a broad range of other companies will soon do the same.