Amazon Alexa-enabled device like the Echo will soon be able to deliver news, weather, or health-related alerts with notifications from their Echo smart speaker.
The move would make Alexa the first among companies like Google and Microsoft whose third-party voice apps can proactively send notifications.
Announced in a blog post this morning, Washington Post, Life 360, Just Eat, and AccuWeather will be among the first four skills with the ability to share alerts.
Users will be required to opt in to receive alerts.
“When available, users will be able to opt-in to notifications per skill using the Amazon Alexa App and will be alerted when there’s new information to retrieve by a chime and a pulsing green light on their Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show device,” said head Alexa evangelist David Isbitski in a blog post today. “When users enable notifications on a skill like The Washington Post, the skill will send status updates to the device. Users can simply ask, ‘Alexa, what did I miss?’ or ‘Alexa, what are my notifications?’”
Making phone calls and proactively sending push notifications were among predictions about intelligent assistants in 2017 made by VoiceLabs CEO Alex Marchick in the 2017 Voice Report. The ability to make phone calls and send messages with an Alexa-enabled device was made available last week.
In an interview earlier this year, Marchick told VentureBeat he believes the ability to send push notifications and connect with friends will be critical to creating the killer app for Alexa.
Another prediction from Marchick: While these notifications should be limited to three or four a day, voice app notifications will get out of hand, just as they had for mobile.
“First there’s going to be the capability of a push notification, and it will probably be abused, and then it will get cracked down on, and then they’ll realize that you’ve got to do this intelligently,” he said.
Amazon has not shared an expected release date for Alexa skill notifications.