Amazon Echo StudioSource: Daniel Bader / Android Central

What you need to know

  • Alexa is getting better at being a digital home assistant with new skills dedicated to helping to start your day.
  • The digital assistant can now surface weather alerts and traffic conditions for users.
  • You'll also be able to keep track of the NBA and U.S. Presidential elections with new commands.

Amazon is improving Alexa's flexibility as a smart home assistant with a bevy of new skills it added over the past month.

First, Alexa will help you get ready in the mornings as Alexa will now be able to keep track of your commute, traffic conditions, and even send directions to your phone. Amazon gives the example of saying "Alexa, how is the traffic to the airport" to summon a route and then adding "Alexa, send that to my phone" to dispatch it to your phone. There you'll be able to start navigation in Google Maps or whatever default navigation ap you have installed.

Alexa will also let you know when there's bad weather in your area, but you'll have to ask it first. Amazon says you can use the "Alexa, tell me when there's a severe weather alert" command to get a proactive notification anytime there is a severe weather warning.

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Finally, if you're staying up to date on the U.S. presidential elections or the NBA, you can use Alexa as a tool to stay informed. Alexa can now respond to "Alexa, what's my election update" or "Alexa, what happened in the last debate" as well as "Alexa, who won in [state?]" and "Alexa, how many delegates does [candidate] have?" commands for the elections, and "Alexa, play the NBA highlights" for the NBA.

All these new commands are currently enabled for Alexa, and you can access them from your Amazon Echo or other Alexa-enabled devices.

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