Amazon to bring opt-in notifications to Alexa

Amazon is going to be adding notifications to its Alexa service, so that skills can provide you with information as it becomes available, unprompted, as opposed to only in response to active voice queries made by a user. The ability to add notifications to skills and devices will be made available through both Amazon’s software and hardware development kits, but initially it’s going to roll out for a small group of select partners skills, as well as for shopping updates.

Some of the partners who will have notifications enabled at launch include AccuWeather, The Washington Post, Just Eat and Life360, and a developer preview coming soon will allow other skill makers to test the functionality in their own products before launching them more broadly to consumers.

Notifications will be provided in a couple of different ways, including an audible chime and a pausing green light using the LED ring on the Echo, Echo Dot or Echo Show hardware. When users receive those tips that something new has arrived, they can ask “Alexa, what did I miss?” or “Alexa, what are my notifications?” to find out what specific information has been coming in. The Alexa app lets users turn on a “Do Not Disturb” mode if they’d like to suspend all notifications for a set time.

News of Amazon’s interest in creating notifications for Alexa and Echo first emerged last fall, via a report from The Information. The arrival of the features make a lot of sense, given the recent announcement of Echo Show and Amazon’s clear interest in capitalizing on Alexa’s early momentum.