Amazon has rolled-out a clever new feature to its Alexa-powered smart speaker that’s designed to stop the handy AI from ruining Christmas.
Throughout the year, Amazon Echo speakers will light-up the ring of LEDs around the top of the speaker (typically used to let you know when it’s listening, or when the microphone has been electronically disabled) in a yellow hue to let you know when you’ve got an Amazon order out for delivery.
When you see this notification appear, you can ask Alexa for details on the delivery – when it will reveal what the item is, and when you can expect it to drop through your letterbox.
Unfortunately, that meant that enterprising children could find out exactly what their parents had ordered from Amazon and would be appearing under the tree on December 25th. Instead of searching through the back of cupboards or fishing for clues from their parents, the kids of frequent Amazon shoppers could just wait for that all-important notification to appear on any Echo speakers around the home.
However, Amazon has now put an end to the issues with a helpful new update to its Alexa app.
Amazon will now disable the ability to reveal what items are shipping from November 17 to Christmas Day. So, you’ll be able to get the usual notifications about anything that you’ve bought in the Boxing Day sales.
That means you won’t have to worry when the LEDs on your Amazon Echo turn yellow and you can find out the latest shipping information without fear that the contents of Santa’s sleigh will be spilt by the chatty AI-powered speaker in front of anyone who is listening.
Of course, those who would prefer to be able to find out what items are in the post and on the way can enable Alexa to tell you exactly what’s arriving through your letterbox year-round.
To do that, you’ll need to load-up the Amazon Alexa app on your iPhone or Android smartphone. Then tap the three-line symbol in the top left-hand corner of the display and choose Settings at the bottom of the list. After that, you’ll want to hit Notifications, followed by Amazon Shopping.
This lets you control the settings for any items ordered by the same account used to sign-in to your Alexa gadgets. So, if you’re using a different account for your Amazon Echo speakers and Fire TV devices than the one used for your Christmas shopping (maybe your main Amazon account was created using a Joint Account card) then you don’t need to worry about adjusting these settings at all.
In the list of options, there is a banner marked Say Or Show Item Titles and two tick boxes below it, one listed as For Items In Delivery Updates and another Including Items In Your Shopping Basket Marked As Gifts, Or Those That Might Be Gifts During Major Holidays. You’ll need to make sure both of these are toggled on to ensure Alexa can keep you in the loop about all items no matter what time of year it is.