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Alexa will soon be able to alert users about information

Soon Alexa will be able to alert users to information, too.

In order to make Alexa “more proactive in delivering information”, Amazon said its virtual assistant will soon be able to alert customers about information.

This means users will be able to add notifications for select skills on most devices with Alexa – and comes just weeks after Amazon announced it is expanding the Alexa family to include Echo Look and Echo Show.

Initially, AccuWeather will provide weather updates, The Washington Post will provide breaking news alerts and Just Eat will provide order confirmations. These brands, along with family networking app Life360, will be among the first to update their skills with notifications, Amazon said.

Consumers will be able to opt in to notifications per skill using the Alexa app and will be alerted when there’s new information by a chime and a pulsing green light on their devices.

“Users can simply ask, ‘Alexa, what did I miss?’ or ‘Alexa, what are my notifications?’ and Alexa will inform users of the latest breaking news,” Amazon said. “All skills require users to opt in before they’ll send alerts to any device. Customers can also disable notifications for skills or suppress notifications temporarily by putting devices in Do Not Disturb mode by voice or through the Amazon Alexa app.”

Customers will be able to try out this feature on select skills and give feedback in the Alexa app.

“The team will use the feedback to improve the user experience before releasing development tools to all skill builders,” Amazon added.

Amazon said development tools to enable skills notifications for device makers and skill builders through the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) – which helps brands integrate Alexa into their products – and Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) – a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation and code samples that make it easier to add skills to Alexa – are also coming soon.

Amazon said AVS will announce a developer preview to ensure “AVS-enabled device makers get a head start updating their products to support notifications from Alexa skills” and it is encouraging developers to sign up for updates.

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Lisa Lacy

Lisa Lacy is a senior reporter for The Drum, covering digital and search marketing. Based in New York, she writes about how brands use technology to connect with consumers, particularly as innovations like voice search, digital assistants and the Internet of Things change consumers’ lives forever – not to mention the data these platforms increasingly collect and the security and privacy issues therein. She is a graduate of Columbia's School of Journalism. Her bucket list includes riding in the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile.

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