If you have an Echo device, you'll be happy to know Alexa has gotten a tad smarter, with the addition of new skills and features. Some of these were actually rolled out during August, while others are just fresh out the oven.

  • "Alexa, are there updates from the school?" – Given the COVID-19 pandemic, this school year will most probably be different for most families. To make it easier, you'll now be able to ask Alexa for updates from school, and it'll answer your request with content using skills from third-parties, such as Canvas, Infinite Campus, Coursera, and more.
  • "Alexa, call for help" – Users in the US can now assign one of their contacts as an emergency one in case you say "Alexa, call for help." The assistant will call and text the person to let them know you're in an emergency. Your contact will even be able to call you back using the Alexa app or an Echo device.
  • "Alexa, pay for gas" – US customers will now be able to use Alexa to buy fuel at a wide range of Exxon and Mobil stations. Transactions are processed after refueling through Amazon Pay using your default payment method from your Amazon account, without the need for additional signup.
  • Voice Focus – Amazon Voice Focus can now mute distracting background noises for Announcements and Group Drop In. This will prevent noises such as a dog barking from being heard.
  • “Alexa, play a podcast on Pandora.” – Podcasts on Pandora are now available on all Alexa-enabled devices.
  • "Alexa, play Starfinder" – The new Starfinder game is an audio adventure that takes place in a science-fantasy world, where you can make decisions to influence the outcome of the story.
  • "Alexa, Open TikTok" - This new skill lets you open the app, search for and create videos using your voice on the Alexa app, Echo Buds, and Alexa Built-in phones.