Thursday, January 21, 2016

Amazon Echo's Alexa can now read your kindle books to you

Amazon has put out yet another useful update for its Alexa digital assistant and Echo smart speaker. Following last week's addition of Jeopardy-playing capabilities, the company will now let its voice-powered software narrate Kindle books aloud through the Echo. You can now start a narration by saying, "Alexa, read "[Kindle book title]," and the software will launch into a reading, albeit in a far more robotic tone than your standard audiobook narrator. The feature is free to use with any Kindle book in your library.

The software will keep track of which book you were reading last, so you can also launch a narration by simply saying, "Alexa, read my Kindle book." Alexa will respond to commands like "pause," "go forward," and "resume reading" too. Unlike the Amazon-owned Audible service, however, you cannot specify a certain chapter to jump to in your Kindle book.

Still, Amazon continues to think up unique ways to make the Echo and Alexa more handy beyond its ability to answer basic internet queries and play music, and Amazon is doing so seemingly at an accelerated clip. The updates are all part of a broader initiative to establish Alexa as a go-to partner for the smart home industry, and this update happens to add Alexa integration for Vivint smart home products like security systems and smart locks.

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