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New Alexa Features: July 2020

Amazon recently released a July update for new Alexa features and commands, adding to the extensive muscle of what all Alexa can do. The catch is only a handful of these updates are actually worth your time. 

Not interested in trudging through the duds? You’re in luck. View the new Alexa features below where I weed out the good from the bad, so you don’t have to.  

Top Story Notifications for NPR and Fox News

Alexa will soon send news notifications from NPR or Fox News related to Top Stories. This update could be really useful, or really annoying, depending on how many notifications Alexa sends out. 

If you’re interested in these notifications, you can opt-in by using these commands.

  • “Alexa, enable news notifications for NPR”
  • “Alexa, enable news notifications for Fox News”

While Amazon noted the release won’t be for a few more months, you can use these commands now to ensure you get this update once it’s live.

Enable Featured Routines by Voice

If you haven’t dabbled in setting up your own custom routines yet, then this command is for you. 

Just say, “Alexa, enable the good morning routine,” to get started.

But if you already use routines, especially the Good Morning routine, skip this.

Wellness Tips from Mayo Clinic

Don’t waste your time, as this update is disappointing. 

But if you really want to know, the gist is Alexa now knows a new command for wellness. Simply say, “Alexa, what is my wellness tip of the day?” to receive a new tip.  

To give you a better idea of what you can expect, Alexa told me, “give yourself credit for the things you do,” which sounds more like a fortune cookie. 

Skip this command, and instead, learn these other options in the wellness category that are worth checking out.

Ask Alexa about the Stock Market

Amazon newly equips Alexa with stock information. To see this in action, simply say, “Alexa, what are the top stocks today?”

When I give this command, Alexa tells me the 3 stocks with the biggest gains for the day, including their name and how much each stock gained. While this update isn’t much to write home about, I’m optimistic this new muscle of Alexa will continue to improve in further updates. 

Get info about the MLB and NBA

If you’re following baseball or basketball, these two new commands are for you. 

  • “Alexa, play MLB highlights”
  • “Alexa, play NBA highlights”

When I use these commands on an Echo Show, Alexa says “loading highlights,” then a highlights reel begins to play. Pretty nice. Just make sure you use these commands on an Alexa-enabled device with a screen to get the full effect. 

Updates to the Alexa App Home Screen

Amazon updated the Alexa App, specifically the first screen you see when you open the App itself. Now it includes a few personalized areas and some skills that you might find useful. 

I think the best part about the update is the performance. The Alexa App feels much snapper to me, which is a big win in my book.

That does it for new Alexa features. Wanting more updates? Check out the other 370 Alexa commands Amazon released this year in my weekly series.

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