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Alexa ‘Tell me when’ skill combines reminders with contextual information



Amazon has updated Alexa in the last month with a modified version of its popular reminder skill. You can now ask Alexa to “tell me when” an event occurs, and the device will provide you with background information and notify you when it actually occurs.

You have been able to set a reminder for an event or task at a specific time for a while, and asking Alexa to let you know when an event occurs can retrieve relevant information. “Tell me when” is a kind of synthesis of the two tasks. Amazon gave some examples: you could ask Alexa to “Tell me when the next Seahawks game is”

; and Alexa could tell you the time of the game and set a reminder to watch. Another interesting use is for email, you can now ask Alexa to tell you when an email is coming from a specific person, and Alexa can announce the arrival of the email to save you from checking your inbox all the time. Of course, you need to be comfortable giving Alexa access to your email for the feature to work.

“Tell me when” shares some overlap with another previous skill for severe weather alerts. You can ask Alexa to let you know when there is a weather forecast, and the assistant can remind you when there is one in your area.

It may not be the most exciting feature of the face, but “Tell me when” is a good example of how Alexa has picked up the opportunity to provide more contextual information and follow-up questions over time. Amazon did not provide a full range of events that “tell me when” works for when we asked, but you should already be able to try out the skill.

For more updates on Alexa’s growing list of skills, check out Amazon’s blog.


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