Amazon's digital assistant Alexa now has named reminders and timers

How to Sync Your iCloud Calendar with Amazon Echo

How to Sync Your iCloud Calendar with Amazon Echo

Reminders and named timers are headed to Echo units in the U.S. today. You can now ask it to remind you of specific tasks and also tell you the reason why you set a certain alarm.

Google Home is part of the Google Cast system, which means you can connect to any Google Home and play as one speaker and even add in Chromecast Audio speakers if you use the Chromecast function on your phone.

To be specific, among people in the USA who owned a smart speaker in the first quarter of 2017, 60 percent of them said they use the device to ask general questions. To do this, iCloud Calendar customers can simply link their account in the settings tab in the Alexa app.

Once a reminder is set, if a time is associated with it then the blue ring light on the Echo for example, would flash at the time that's specified in the reminder while Alexa would also speak to you and list off the reminder details. When that time expires, the Echo will clarify which timer is going off, saying, "Your grill (or whatever) timer is done". To name a timer, you can just ask Alexa to set a timer using the name you want, like "Alexa, set a pasta timer for..." Alexa can also update you on the status of any timer on demand, or cancel them if needed. You'll be able to manage the timers manually via the app, just like the reminders. Amazon announced Thursday Apple users will be able to sync their iCloud calendars with Alexa. For now, Google Home and Amazon Echo are two very similar smart speaker products.

Both features are relatively minor updates, but they reflect the increasingly broad scope of Amazon's Alexa as it broadens its reach throughout the home.

The update is available now in the United States and will come to other countries in the coming weeks.

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