Alexa adds support for reminders and named timers

Next Story

Microsoft releases version 2.0 of its deep learning toolkit

One of Alexa’s more practical, everyday uses is setting timers – helpful when cooking, remembering to perform some task, or alerting kids it’s bedtime, among other things. Today, Amazon is improving its timers by allowing users to name their different ones. This will make it easier to use multiple timers simultaneously, Amazon says.

Plus, since many Alexa customers were already using the timer feature to set reminders, Amazon is now formalizing that use case by allowing you to ask Alexa to “remind me” instead of “set a timer.”

With Reminders, you can now ask Alexa to alert you to anything of your choosing – even if it’s at a later date. For example, Amazon suggests you could remind yourself to pick up the dry cleaning, or put the laundry in the dryer, pay bills, or perform some other task or chore.

You can ask to be reminded at a particular date, day of the week, or just time of day, if it’s a reminder you’re setting for the same day. These can all be viewed and managed in Alerts & Alarms section of the Alexa app.

When the reminder is due, a blue light ring appears on Amazon’s Echo connected speaker and Alexa’s voice reminds you of the task at hand.

In addition, timers can now be assigned names, which will make them easier to manage. That also means it will be easier to have multiple timers going at the same time. To name a timer, you can just ask Alexa to set a timer using the name you want, like “Alexa, set a pasta timer for…” Plus, you can cancel or check on these timers by name, as well, like “Alexa, how much time is left on the garlic bread timer?”

You can also see a list of your active timers within the Alexa app.

The news follows yesterday’s announcement of iCloud calendar support in Alexa – its first Apple integration. (Alexa already supports calendars from Google and Microsoft).

Amazon says both reminders and named timers were among the top requests from customers.

Both features are rolling out today in the U.S., and then will arrive in the U.K. and Germany in the coming weeks.