If you’re a regular user of Alexa, Amazon recently added some new features to the voice assistant that are genuinely useful.
As The Verge reports, the new features are detailed in Amazon’s latest “Alexa’s Monthly Roundup.” Top of the list is the option to say, “Alexa, send that to my phone.” It means you can look up information, such as directions for a drive, from the comfort of your home and then send that information to you phone. It appears on your phone as a notification, so once in your car you can tap and have route guidance start without any further prep.
Next up is a severe weather warning system. It’s now possible to ask Alexa to inform you when there’s a severe weather warning alert locally. Enabling this before doing a route guidance could prove beneficial, especially if you live in an area with very unpredictable or extreme weather patterns.
With the 2020 US presidential elections edging ever closer, Amazon is embracing the growing amount of information in the run-up to the vote. Alexa can now be asked a range of election-specific questions, such as what happened in the last debate, who endorses a candidate, when your primary is, how to register to vote, and eventually what the live results are.
Finally, there’s the ability for any Alexa device with a screen to play video highlights from NBA games. Just say, “Alexa, play the NBA highlights” to see the most recent highlights, or instead pick a specific team to see their highlights pop up.
One new developer feature worth mentioning is called Brand Voice. It works with Amazon Polly, which is Amazon’s service for turning text into lifelike speech using deep learning. Brand Voice allows a unique voice to be created with the help of Amazon Polly AI researchers and linguistics. KFC Canada already used it to create a Colonel Sanders voice.