Does anyone remember Echo, the smart, cordless speaker which received its own virtual assistant? For those of you who don’t, last year, Amazon released a new product called Echo. Basically, it’s Bluetooth speaker which is able to pair off with any smart device. But Echo has come a long way since then. Alexa is now able to read Kindle Books among other cool features.
- Echo was released by Amazon last year;
- Along with the speaker, Amazon also released an SDK, which provided third-party app developers to create whole new applications for the device;
- Echo connects with other devices over a Bluetooth connection;
- Alexa can also use Yelp for search inquiries and can control other home smart devices;
- Using the new extension, Alexa can be voice-commanded to read books, skip paragraphs, pause or resume the narration.
Apart from being your everyday portable jukebox, Echo can do much more for you than blast music. By using Alexa, Cortana’s or Siri’s counterpart, you can virtually do anything with the little Bluetooth speaker.
Using voice commands, you can ask Alexa to perform searches over the web, using the Yelp search engine. Alexa can also make recommendations for places to eat, takes memos and can even play Jeopardy with you.
But, according to Amazon, along with the next update, Alexa receives a couple of new features. Alexa is now able to read Kindles books.
The new feature is called Kindle Books by Alexa (sounds like the AI is planning to make her own book club) and, according to Amazon, the app takes advantage of the same text-to-speech technology.
Well, I’m afraid Alexa doesn’t have the same soothing tone as Morgan Freeman or Earl Jones’s deep voice, but she will still be capable of reading a whole book to you. As we said, Alexa will still have the same robot-like voice, but it’s alright because there is still room for improvement.
So, what can Alexa do for you in terms of reading literature? Well, let’s say you went ahead and bought or rented a new book or audiobook from the Kindle store. You read a couple of pages, but you eventually get tired of reading.
What to do, what to do? Well, you can ask Alexa to read-aloud the book from a certain point. Just say “Alexa, read my Kindle book” and Alexa picks up the narrative thread have you left it. Moreover, you can also ask Alexa to read a specific title from your library, by using voice commands.
There are also other voice commands which you can use during Alexa’s public reading, such as forward or backward. You can even ask Alexa to take a respite from reading or to resume.
Unfortunately, you can’t ask her to read certain chapters from the book, but you can ask her to jump certain paragraphs after 30 seconds.
Alexa is now able to read Kindle books and the application can be downloaded for free from Amazon’s online store.