Amazon Alexa is expanding the capabilities of Alexa Routines.
Launched in fall 2017, Routines allows users to carry out such tasks as scheduling actions, carrying out multiple tasks with a single word or creating custom voice commands.
Setting a Routine for the Amazon Echo is done by simply launching the Alexa app, opening the menu (top left button) and tapping Routines. Then, a user needs to hit the plus button to create a new Routine.
With this latest update, a Routine can be created to start after an alarm goes off, and will soon be connected to sunrise or sunset. For example, a user can say, “Alexa, good evening,” and the app will turn on the lights, start a playlist, hear the latest news and launch an Alexa voice app.
By the end of 2018, Alexa had 56,750 skills in the U.S., after starting the year with 25,784 skills, marking a 120 percent year-over-year growth. App growth increased 233 percent in the U.K., and grew 152 percent in Germany during last year.
In addition, people can also trigger email updates to share notifications from Gmail or Outlook, while Cloud Cam or Logitech smart home camera users can launch routines based on when a person crosses its field of vision.
Last year, Routines received an update that allowed users to add specific songs, podcasts and radio shows to their day. The Routine feature allows users to set up a morning or nightly routine (turn on the lights, get a weather report, play music, etc.). Simply creating a trigger word or phrase, such as “Alexa, good morning,” will signal the virtual assistant to start a 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.