Notifications Are Coming 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 Amazon.com 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 passing 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.
Now, you can ask Alexa to deliver anything from your Amazon Restaurants order history. If you’ve ordered from Amazon Restaurants before, just enable the Amazon Restaurants skill on any Alexa-enabled device, such as the Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, or Amazon Tap. Then say, “Alexa, order from Amazon Restaurants.” Alexa will suggest meals from your order history to be delivered to your default address. Confirm the order, and that's it—your meal is on its way.
Amazon Restaurants is available to Prime members in the US in Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore, Brooklyn, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Manhattan, Miami, Minneapolis, Northern Virginia, Orlando, Oakland, San Diego, San Francisco, San Jose, Seattle and the Eastside, Tampa and Las Vegas.
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Track Your Food With Nutritionix
How would you like to tell Alex what you had for breakfast and have her log your food. The way you do this is through Nutritionix. The app is free, and hosts a HUGE database of foods restaurants, and you can even add your own food (or combinations of food if you eat certain foods together). The app alone makes it super easy to enter the food you are eating and give you a total of the calories, and a glimpse into the nutrition. You can put in your goal for calories and it turns red or green depending on your current stats.
When you enable the Nutritionix skill, I can simply say,
Alexa, tell food tracker to log a glass of milk and she will add it to your Nutritionix. I tried it and sure enough there was my glass of milk in my account. I haven't tested it much since then as I just found it, but this could make tracking your food intake super easy.
If you just want to use it for advice, you can ask, “Ask food tracker how many calories are in 2 eggs and 3 slices of bacon” or “Ask food tracker How many carbs are in 3 ounces of pasta.”