Outlook users with an Amazon Echo can now make the online retailer’s assistant go to work for them. Amazon quietly updated Alexa to support Outlook calendars, letting you ask the virtual assistant to add and review events on your Outlook.com calendar.
Alexa previously supported only Google Calendar integration, but now an Outlook option appears in the Alexa mobile app. You can sync your Outlook account within the Alexa app and then the virtual assistant will be able to tell you events happening that day if you ask “what’s on my calendar?” You can also use the command “add an event to my calendar” to create a new scheduled meeting.
Currently, only Google and Outlook calendars are supported; Apple calendar users are still in the dark. You won’t have to update any Alexa-enabled devices to use this new feature—just connect your Outlook account with the Alexa app and your information will be available via the virtual assistant.
Amazon has issued a few small yet important updates to Alexa and its devices recently. Last week, for instance, the company pushed a software update to its Alexa-ready Tap portable speakers that let users summon Alexa hands-free. Previously with Tap, you had press the microphone button on the device before you could say anything to Alexa. Now users can just call out Alexa’s name to wake the assistant up, which puts Tap more in line with Amazon’s Echo and Dot devices. One good thing about this feature on Tap is that you can turn it off within the Alexa mobile app if you don’t always want it to listen. Amazon claims Tap can get up to eight hours of battery life with hands-free mode turned on, but you can always turn it off or put it into sleep mode by pressing the power button.