In late 2017, Amazon opened up push notifications for Alexa app developers, which means as long as people follow the guidelines, all kinds of apps can add push notifications to your Alexa-enabled speaker. This allows Alexa users to set push notifications for a growing number of Alexa skills and native abilities, so that Alexa can speak up on your device and give you important updates as you want them. Just what can Alexa do with these notifications? Here’s a list.
Even if you don’t see a capability on the list, it’s worth checking your Alexa skills to see if you can enable a voice alert. Fortunately, third party notifications won’t suddenly turn on by themselves. If you miss any enabled notifications, you can ask Alexa to review your recent notifications to make sure you caught everything.
Severe weather alerts
Apps like Accuweather can provide you with weather warnings if there’s a particular alert for your area like high windows, flooding, and so on. You can also ask Alexa “What’s the weather like?” at any time to get a rundown of the temperature, forecast for the day, and any ongoing alerts. Make sure the location is set to your current town.
Plane flights and times
Apps such as Kayak can offer information on flights and flight times, as well as when planes have landed. This allows you to keep track of loved ones in the sky, plan for pickups at the airport, and many other useful things.
What would the world be like if we couldn’t find out the latest on our pizza order? One of the first third-party apps to enable notifications was, of course, Domino’s. They now allow customers in the United States to get notifications about their pizza orders. You can now be apprised of when the pizza is cooking and when it’s about to be delivered.
Alexa also provides a native traffic information notification option that you can add to your general Alexa morning update, or ask about at any time. Currently, this is one of Alexa’s weakest offerings, since Alexa’s sources of traffic information appears to be pretty limited, so it’s not much use outside urban areas.
Locations of loved ones
The appprovides updates on your loved ones, giving you notifications on where they are based on who you are tracking. This means you can set up the app to automatically notify you when someone with a tracker gets to school, leaves work, and so on. Like Domino’s, this is basically the same updates the app provides on its own, but set up as a voice notification via Alexa instead.
Alexa will automatically search for news headlines and provide them to you on demand (a feature that can be customized with various skills for different types of news). However, specific apps like The Washington Post offer the ability to enable automatic notifications. When an important piece of breaking news comes up on the skill, Alexa will tell you about it. This is one of those notifications that you’ll either love or hate, depending on how closely you follow the news.
Order something through Amazon, and Alexa will notify you when your package has shipped, so you can know when to expect it. You can also ask for additional updates on where the package is and if it’s out for delivery. This is especially useful for Prime users, who can expect many packages within two days but may want more specific information for important shipments.
Currently, sports-oriented skills rarely push notifications that prompt Alexa to speak on her own, but they do provide a wealth of information and updates on demand. You can search for skills to get updates on scores, sports news for your team, upcoming game days, injuries, fantasy league stats, and a lot more.
Shopping list items
If you’ve forgotten what was added to a recent shopping list, just ask Alexa, and she’ll give you an update on all your shopping list items. Note that Alexa can now distinguish between different voices as well, which may cause her to create multiple shopping lists for different people. This could create some confusion if it happens unexpectedly.
Your own reminders
You can also program Alexa to give you automatic reminders that you can set yourself.
These reminders are handy when you want Alexa to tell you about specific tasks that you may otherwise forget. You can specify the times that Alexa gives you the reminders, and make them re-occuring if necessary.