Alexa Routines is getting an update which will allow users to add specific songs, podcasts, and radio shows to their day.
According to Lifehacker, the update is expected to hit the Alexa app soon.
The Routine feature allows users to set up a morning or nightly routine (turn on the lights, get a weather report, play music, etc.). Setting it up for the Amazon Echo is done by simply launching the Alexa app, opening the menu (top left button), and tapping Routines. Then hit the big plus button to make a new one.
Then create a trigger word or phrase, such as “Alexa, good morning,” that will signal the virtual assistant to start your routine. Actions to add include news, smart home, weather, and the new music option, where users can pick a song or playlist from different services, including Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, and iHeartRadio. It also supports podcasts and radio shows.
This is the latest new feature for Alexa. This week it was also announced that Amazon has added a skill that enables people to make donations to charities via Alexa.
Users can simply say “Alexa, make a donation,” and the virtual assistant will help the user choose from a list of 40 charities, or they can name the specific charity to which they want to donate. Alexa will then take the funds from the user’s Amazon account and pay it out to the organization.
The voice assistant relies on a four-digit voice confirmation code to make sure the donation is valid, and shares a consumer’s username, email address and home address with the charity, but doesn’t provide any credit card information.
And in March, JPMorgan Chase & Co. announced a partnership with Amazon that allows its institutional clients to get stock information from Alexa.
Voice assistants are “clearly becoming something people are habituated to in their lives,” said David Hudson, global head of markets execution for JPMorgan Chase. “It’s about taking information that’s somewhere in the bank — that someone has to generally go and look for, or which is time-consuming or requires authentication to get — and [offering] that to you in another channel.”