Microsoft’s partnership with Amazon’s Alexa digital assistant is in full bloom as new reports indicate that the AI will be boosted with Outlook and Hotmail support of voice commands among other new features.
According to VentureBeat, Amazon’s Alexa just recieved a bucket full of new features that include new location-based routines, various voice command supports for 3rd party email clients, location-based trigger prompts and timer improvements.
“Alexa now responds to voice commands like “Alexa, check my email” and “Alexa did I get an email from [contact]?” Amazon’s new self-learning system will parse mew and “important” messahes from a 24 hour period with additional notification details allowing for routine new messages updates.
In addition to notifications or read/reciepts, users can also reply, delete, and archive messages entirely with voice commands in Outlook, Hotmail, Live.com, Gmail, and other supported email clients. Amazon claims accounts are pin protected and can be managed individually.
As far as Alexa’s other updates, the location based action support is reliant on users already having the most up to date version of the Alexa companion app on their smartphones. Once configured, Alexa will be able to trigger actions based on a smartphones GPS and relative distance to frequented places such as reminders to bring water when near the gym, or turn or turn off lights near home.
Users can also set soundtracks for Routines allowing music or white noise to be played during specific times or tasks along a schedule.
Perhaps, the most important update comes to Alexa Timers which now allows users to use voice commands to remove or add timers.
Alexa is proving to be a juggernaut in the personal assistant space, but also, Microsoft’s interfacing pivot away from Cortana. While Microsoft has plans to enhance its Cortana features after it separates it from the core search of Windows 10, it seems as though the company is already making significant progress with allowing Amazon’s Alexa to support a ton of its services today.