Once limited, Alexa Routines can now control your home and stream music on a schedule.
A few months ago, Amazon rolled out one of the larger feature updates for Alexaspeakers to date: Routines. This lets you automate lights and other connected devices on a schedule, or lump multiple commands into one. "Alexa, good night" could be programmed to turn off smart bulbs around the house, lock the door, set a specific temperature and more, for example. Routines further cement Alexa as the brains of the smart home.
Routines came with a couple caveats though. First, you could only control smart bulbs and a handful of other devices. (They've since been updated to support more.) The bigger drawback, though, was the lack of music streaming.
Music alarms were a step in the right direction. But not being able to say, "Alexa, set the mood" and having the lights dim and calm music play felt like a huge missed opportunity.
Fortunately, that's about to change.
Starting Tuesday, Alexa Routines will support music playback. You can add music from an artist, album, playlist or radio station from your preferred music streaming service, including Amazon Music, Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio, SAAVN, Deezer and TuneIn.
The best part? You can also set an action to change the volume level for the routine so you won't be waking up to a playlist at full blast.
Here are some examples of how you can work music into your routines:
- "Alexa, good morning" can turn on the lights around the house, raise the temperature, play the news and weather, followed by your favorite morning playlist.
- A morning alarm routine could also be set to perform the above actions at a set time each weekday.
- "Alexa, game night" might set the mood with dim, funky colored lights and play some light background music for your family (or friend) game night.
- "Alexa, good night" could turn off all the lights, lock up the doors, lower the temperature and play relaxing or nature sounds on your bedside Alexa speaker.
- A kid's bedtime routine can dim the lights in the kid's bedroom, turn off their TV and play a song that lets them know it's time to go to sleep.
Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa is everywhere these days, having delivered in-home voice control to the masses. She can do all sorts of things if you ask nicely, she's popping up in more and more devices, and her capabilities are evolving quickly.
It's a lot to keep up with, but we're here to help. Click through for a quick crash course on how Alexa works and what all she has to offer.