Feature requests for Alexa
I love my Amazon Echo and I think Alexa is much better than Siri. However, there are potentially cool some features missing that could be easily added by the Amazon team. Some of my suggestions:
- A default dictionary and a translation tool (not buried as a skill that nobody uses). Something like: "Alexa, define the word or expression _____" or "Alexa, translate _____ into Japanese." Google Home does that already!
- A voicemail! People could call your phone and if you don't pick up, it would transfer the call to Alexa. When you arrive home, the lights would be blinking in a different pattern warning you have messages.
- A hot mic. Like a Nest Cam, you should be able to listen what Alexa is listening through the app. And even talk to someone at home if necessary.
- This one is controversial, but would be really cool. As the Echo is always listening, it could be programmed to recognize different sound patterns and trigger specific actions. Users could manage them through the Alexa App. For instance, a door slam after you arrive at home would trigger an action such as "Welcome home, _______" and play your favorite song. Non-registered voices when you're not at home would send you an alert about intruders. A dog barking for a long time would active a pre-recorded message to calm it down. The possibilities are endless and yeah, I am aware of the privacy implications.
- Through machine learning, Alexa could even be able to detect your mood by the tone of your voice and cheer your up or crack a joke if necessary.
I am sure the product managers at Amazon have their reasons for not implementing these features yet. Some of them may not be popular, others are hard to do and one, specifically, would draw privacy concerns.
The exciting news is that Amazon is just scratching the surface on what is possible with Alexa.