By: Nick Gambino
Amazon’s Echo has fast become a popular item due to the convenience it offers. Now with its most recent it only broadens its appeal.
The Echo utilizes Amazon’s resident smart assistant, Alexa, to perform various tasks as well as answer random questions. Debuting just last year and widely released in June of this year, the Echo can do things like turn on your lights, play your favorite song, give local traffic info and answer questions like, “What’s the capital of Iowa?” All of this is done of course using voice command.
While the Echo definitely struggled early in release due to its lack of features, Amazon has continued to add functionality, significantly beefing up what its capable of.
The most recent partnership with Yelp allows Alexa to add a new bag of tricks to her stable. You can now find out local business information with a simple vocalized question. You can find out where the nearest good Chinese food joint is or the hours of an establishment.
Once you ask the question you can get even more info through the Alexa app. Info such as the address, phone number and Yelp reviews will pop up. Because after all, reviews are what make Yelp, Yelp. Users leave reviews on different businesses which then results in an overall star rating of said business.
To turn on this feature, you’ll have to go through a few simple steps first. Simply go to settings in the Alexa app. Then select your device and then hit “Edit” in the “Device location” section. Now all you have to do is enter your full address so Alexa knows where to look. Hit “Save” and you’re ready to go.
Now this newest added feature to Alexa’s arsenal was an expected and necessary addition. Microsoft and Apple’s digital assistants (Cortana and Siri) already have Yelp integration and have for quite some time.
In a recent e-mail sent out to all those who own an Echo, Amazon revealed that they would be adding more local search options in the near future making the Echo more and more a go-to consigliere for daily living.
Next up, I hope they add a bedtime story feature or “Alexa, lull me to sleep.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Nick Gambino is a regular script writer and tech beat reporter for NewsWatch. He lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and daughter.