Alexa makers promise that the digital assistant will now be able to list appointments and events on your personal calendar. And as we all know, when one piece of technology gets an update, other similar technologies get updates, too…
Alexa’s calendar update
According to TechCrunch, tasks such as making appointments and arranging calendar invites among various friends, family members and colleagues are typically performed by humans. This is because most digital assistants, such as Alexa, still struggle with this type of “mental” juggling. However, it appears that Amazon is trying to change that tech reality.
Alexa recently “got” a new upgrade that will allow the voice assistant to “get smarter about working with your calendar,” TechCrunch reported. “The new abilities will let users move appointments around and schedule meetings based on other people’s availability.”
The following are some of the updates Alexa is now equipped with:
- Once someone shares their calendar availability with you, Alexa can suggest event times that work for you and the person you’re trying to meet with. According to TechCrunch, a user just has to say, “Alexa schedule a meeting with [name].”
- Alexa also will take care of moving existing appointments. For example, if you need to change a meeting time, Alexa won’t make you cancel and then reschedule the appointment.
Apple’s Siri is getting an update, too
On Monday June 4, Apple revealed that Siri is getting a new feature. The feature, called Shortcuts, will allow users to easily get the digital assistant “through a multistep routine,” The Verge reported. The announcement was made at Apple’s annual developer conference.
According to The Verge, the update will allow users to “record and assign” their “own phrases as Shortcuts… Once Siri hears those phrases repeated, it will perform a series of actions.”
And Shortcuts also can work with Siri’s Suggestions feature, The Verge reported. (Suggestions is getting more updates, too.)
“If you’re running late for a meeting, Siri will now suggest that you text you’re going to be late. When catching a movie, Siri will suggest turning your phone on Do Not Disturb,” The Verge explained. “There’s also going to be a Shortcuts app, where you can prepare for an activity like heading to the beach to surf, with a list of suggestions such as checking the weather and preparing a beach towel.”
Apple made these updates to respond to outside concerns that Siri can’t understand some questions. “The biggest problem is that Siri isn’t adept enough at voice recognition compared to its more skilled rivals, Google Assistant and Amazon’s Alexa,” The Verge added.
What this means for you
For the Alexa update: If you prefer using a digital assistant to set meetings, events and appointments, you’ll have better control when making those entries. Also, making, rescheduling and canceling those appointments will be easier.
For the Siri update: Siri may be easier to use. And if you used to gripe that Siri wasn’t as efficient as her digital assistant counterparts, that gripe may now be obsolete.
However, privacy and security are always issues when doing any type of business or performing a command with technology. So, if you plan to start using, or keep using, a digital assistant, just make certain you understand how to set your device’s privacy and security settings and know how to safely operate your device.