Amazon Alexa has received a crucial update that allows users to add custom phrases for an Alexa routine. It works seamlessly with smart home automation, too, making it a must-have for every Alexa-enabled home.
Simply put, the feature would allow you to set phrases like “Alexa, I’m home” instead of using specific wording such as “Alexa, turn on the lights.”
Users can add multiple custom phrases to the same routine. Phrases can even be in another language, thanks to built-in support for multiple languages. Amazon allows up to seven custom phrases for an automation routine, per AFTVnews (via The Verge).
While this isn’t a major update to Alexa’s set of tricks, it will undoubtedly make life easier for many smart-connected homes.
Amazon made a few Alexa-related announcements during the Alexa Live event last week
Amazon announced new tools at Alexa Live aimed at bridging the gap between the developers and the customers. Although Alexa has many handy skills to choose from, Amazon hasn’t figured out how to help users find the skills they want. The company hopes to change this with the introduction of Widgets that showcase Alexa skills.
Widgets would be introduced to Alexa devices with screens such as the Echo Show 10 and its predecessors. Developers can further build Featured Skill Cards that highlight or promote their skills within the home screen. Previous attempts by Amazon to showcase new skills have not been well received by the users.
As for voice-only Alexa devices like the Echo or the Echo Dot, developers can have their skills recommended in response to voice commands. These include “Alexa, let’s play a game” or even something as random as “Alexa, tell me a story.”
Another big update to Alexa over the past week was the inclusion of a male voice. Known simply as “Ziggy,” the new voice can be enabled by simply saying, “Alexa, change your voice.”
Alexa has had a large list of voices to choose from, including celebrity voices. However, the default Alexa voice has never changed since its launch in November 2014. Notably, rival voice assistants like Google Assistant and Siri have allowed both male and female voices for quite some time now.