One of my main problems with 'smart' assistants is that they aren't great at delivering information. Yes, you can ask "will there be storms," but having your Echo or Google Home proactively inform you about dangerous weather would be far more useful.

Amazon today announced that it is working on notification support for Alexa, which will allow skills to send notifications to the user (if allowed). When your Echo has pending notifications, indicated by a chime and pulsing green light, you can ask "Alexa, what did I miss?" or "Alexa, what are my notifications?" to hear them. I imagine the indicators might be different for other devices, but that is how it will work on Echo speakers.

Amazon is already working with a few partners to implement notification support - for example, the Washington Post will provide breaking news, and the AccuWeather skill will send weather alerts. The company will release a developer preview "in the coming weeks" for device makers to add support for notifications.

If you're an Alexa skill developer, you might have to wait a while before you can add notifications to your skills - Amazon says the updated SDK will arrive "in the coming months."