Alexa can now notify users when it learns new things


To use the helper, just download SEAT Media Control with Amazon Alexa from the Android PlayStore, connect it to the vehicle, and voice service is ready for use. But it doesn't appear to be working, according to a report in the Information on Monday.

With Amazon supporting Alexa with an "open skills" development kit, it's likely we'll see rapid advances in the range of in-car functions the system can provide.

The new Answer Updates is being rolled out over the coming days, and it could help solve one of the most frustrating things about Echo smart speakers. They also shed doubts on other estimates by financial analysts that the smart speaker shopping market will eventually be worth many times what it is today.

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It turns out that while tens of millions of people are buying Amazon Alexa-enabled smart home devices like the Echo, only a small fraction of those people are using them to make purchases. The skill will not be triggered "after listening to a news item or other information about a news item".

As if the Amazon and Whole Foods marriage could get even cozier, the shopping behemoth just added a new feature to the mix: You can now use Alexa to compile your grocery list, and if you if you have Prime Now, use the speaker to place your order to get delivered within two hours.

So what could be holding Amazon's potentially-lucrative Alexa sales back? "The trend in voice-activated services is growing and for this reason we want to make it available to our customers". (Hence the heavy slant towards home products, in which picking an exact item matters less than, say, a new TV, a specific type of phone charger, or a chef's knife.) At the end of the day, the best tool to do that - a computer or smartphone - is already in all of its customers' hands. Unfortunately for Amazon, nobody really uses that feature.