Amazon has rolled out a new email-reading feature to its virtual assistant that allows it to read a summary of your new and important messages from the last 24 hours. When it does, you can then opt to read, reply to, delete, or archive those messages, all without powering on your actual computer.
The feature currently works exclusively with Gmail and Microsoft’s Outlook, Hotmail, and Live. If you’re using something different, then you’re currently out of luck.
And if you’re someone who gets a boatload of messages like I do, you can also use the feature to just let you know if that email, you know, the one you’ve been waiting foreeeeever for, has arrived. Here’s how to set it up.
Connect Your Account
In order to use the email feature, you’ll need to have the latest version of the Alexa app installed on your device. Once you do, tap the menu button at the top left side of the screen (the three lines stacked on top of each other) and then select Settings followed by Email and Calendar. Press the + button to add an account and then follow the on-screen instructions to pair your email account to your Echo.
Note that the feature is being rolled out slowly, so if you see Calendar rather than Email and Calendar here, make sure you have the latest version of the app and then give it a few days.
How to Use It
Once you have your email account connected, you can use the feature in a number of ways. “Read my email” will start a rundown of the last 24 hours of emails you’ve received.
If you’re waiting on an email from a specific person, you can ask “Alexa, did I get an email from [contact]?” If that email hasn’t arrived yet, Alexa will offer to set up a one-time notification for you so she can let you know when that precious email actually does arrive.
As someone who gets literally hundreds of emails a day, having Alexa read all my emails to me is pretty much a non-starter. For someone like my dad, who gets maybe three or four emails a day and rarely opens his computer, the feature makes a lot more sense. The feature also makes a ton of sense for those who might have trouble seeing emails or typing replies.
If you live with others, everyone in a household connect their own email accounts and manage access with a personalised voice PIN. And you’ll obviously want to make sure you’re not connecting this to an Echo where someone else might snoop through your messages (or overhear them being read to you).
That said, that “Alexa, did I get an email from [contact]?” feature? I’m going to use that one Every. Single. Day.