The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the personal assistant solutions of Apple’s’ Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Google’s Google Now has made the smartphones and computers we use much more efficient. But Amazon’s Echo has gone a step further by liberating this technology from the confines of computing devices to a standalone product that just needs to be plugged into an outlet.
Amazon’s Virtual Assistant Alexa Cracks Jokes
The introduction of Echo and Alexa, the virtual assistant in the device, in 2014 by Amazon was heralded as an innovative solution, but with some questions about its usefulness. The cylinder-shaped device was simple in design and effective in tracking news, playing your music, remembering your shopping list and even telling jokes with just voice commands.
When Echo was released, it was seen as a device to help users consume content Amazon was offering and, of course, shop, but the recent announcement of its new capabilities shows the company has big integration plans for the future.
Amazon just announced Echo has new features that will let you ask Alexa to add or review events on Google Calendar. To do this, you will need to link Alexa to your Google account. Once the account is linked, you can open the calendar and perform a number of actions with voice commands alone.
- To find out about your next event(s), say, “When is my next event?” “What’s on my calendar?”
- To find out about an event at a specific time or on a specific day, say, “What’s on my calendar tomorrow at [time]?” or “What’s on my calendar on [day]?”
- To add an event to your calendar, say, “Add an event to my calendar.” (Alexa helps you add the event to your calendar.) or “Add [event] to my calendar for [day] at [time].”
Amazon’s Virtual Assistant Alexa Might Ruffle Feathers?
Users of Alexa already knew it could read their Google Calendar for some time now, but being able to create events increases its capability. With Google already heavily invested in its own AI voice assisted technology for Android, Amazon’s enhancement of Alexa for use with one of Google’s core products is sure to ruffle some feathers.
According to Mashable, these developments and the popularity of Echo have led the search giant to start developing an “Amazon Echo Killer.” The report says, Nest, which specializes in creating connected devices, will apparently be responsible for the project.
One of the goals of AI is to evolve, and Echo is doing that by introducing more features that will simplify the lives of its users. Recently it has added local search from Yelp, movie show times, Samsung SmartThings support, Audible audiobooks, text-to-speech for Kindle eBooks and more than 100 new skills from third-party developers.
As more of the Internet of Things (IoT) continues to connect more of the things in the world we live in, Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa will have to get smarter. The Google Calendar capability is another step forward in that evolution.
If you have Echo and use Alexa in your home, share with us how you’re using it and let us know how this new feature will improve the way you plan your days.