Amazon literally wants its customers to stop touching their phones. Instead, it wants them to rely on its smarter-than-Siri assistant, Alexa, whose voice comes booming out of Amazon Echo every time the user makes a request.
After its latest feature upgrades, not only can Alexa order a pizza and play music on Spotify, but now it can also order an Uber with requests like “Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride” or “Alexa, ask Uber to request an UberX.” It can also provide updates with questions like “Alexa, ask Uber where’s my ride?”
The addition of this new feature comes in light of a new collaboration between Uber and Amazon that plugs the ability to order Uber rides into Alexa’s skill set through a third-party app, which can be enabled in the “Skills” section of Alexa’s mobile app.
While some may rate Alexa’s ability to order an Uber ride and Domino’s pizza pretty highly, they are recent additions to a quickly growing list of over 130 features.
Some of its new features now make it possible for users to hear weather reports from different weather apps, such as AccuWeather, look up transit schedules, book show tickets through StubHub and get market quotes from Fidelity — all without the need for the user to pick up and speak into their phone.
“Maybe you’re running late and your phone’s charging in another room, or you’re not the most savvy smartphone user — having the ability to ask Alexa to get you an Uber just by using your voice takes the magic of getting a ride to an entirely new level,” said Matt Wyndowe, Uber’s head of product partnerships. “We used to say push a button, get a ride; now, with the help of Alexa, you don’t have to lift a finger.”
However, as it goes with any new innovation, Echo’s Alexa still seems to be in its learning stage, as in many instances it can fail to recognize complex statements and will only process requests if they are put in a certain way. For instance, Alexa won’t order a Domino’s pizza if it’s just told to order one. Instead, the user has to rephrase the request to say, “Alexa, open Domino’s and place my EasyOrder,” as TechCrunch pointed out.