Alexa isn’t just for at home anymore. Thanks to an update from Amazon, Alexa devices can perform time- and location-based routines and reminders, triggered at a given time or when you enter for leave a specific area. The update, which includes some features first introduced earlier this year, also adds the ability to place calls to businesses in your city and provide a summarized version of your emails.
To make the new location-based features work, you’ll need to update the Alexa app on your phone and give it access to your location. Once you’ve done that, you can set up routines or reminders that will kick in when you cross over a geofenced location — like turning off your internet-connected lights when you walk out of the door.
Similarly, if you set up a reminder based on location (“Alexa, remind me to take out the trash when I get home), Alexa will provide it to you on cue. If you’re not near an Alexa device, you’ll get a push notification through the Alexa app. Google has had a similar feature built into its Google Home speaker for the better part of the year.
In addition to location-based triggers, Alexa now recognizes time-based triggers in routines as well. Let’s say you like listening to hear the news in the morning, but not right when you wake up. You can set your morning routine to include a 30-minute time delay before Alexa starts to read headlines.
In addition to all the new triggers, Alexa has also gained the ability to read your email. Assuming you trust the voice assistant with that responsibility, it can link with Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail or Live.com accounts to summarize the messages in your inbox. You’ll also be able to manage and respond to emails by dictating messages to Alexa. The email feature will only be available in the US for the time being.