If you’re still a little shy about using voice commands in public, or it’s just not appropriate in the circumstances, Alexa has opened another line of communication.
Amazon is rolling out a new Type with Alexa feature, that enables users to send messages to the voice assistant, in order to carry out commands.
The feature, which was first spied by smart home site The Ambient, makes it possible to text Alexa to ask for new calendar appointments, weather updates, news headlines and calculations, for example. It’s also possible to control smart home devices via the new service, although that is just as easy to accomplish through the Alexa app itself.
If you text, for example, “what’s the whether today?” you will get a response with a pretty detailed forecast for the day. You’ll get the high and low temperature for your location, the current temperature and any expected weather events.
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Those noticing the feature, which is in public preview right now within the Alexa app, will see the following message: “Hello! Guess who just learned how to type! Message me to tell a joke or turn on the lights. Or, search the app for things like your lists or settings.”
The messages interface will be accessible via a new keyboard icon in the top left corner of the app. Once you start typing, Alexa’s AI will also guess what you want based upon the input, hopefully lessening the number of keystrokes. As The Ambient points out, you can start typing “turn” and the app will deduce you probably want to do something with your smart lights.
It doesn’t appear as if everyone has access to the feature yet, but it’s yet another string to Alexa’s bow beyond its initial selling point.
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