Notifications will be enabled through a given skill. For instance, if you want news from The Washington Post, you can activate notifications for the skill and Alexa will send you notifications once the Post publishes a new story.

The Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show and any other device with Alexa integration will get the new notification function. The first companies to take advantage of the update for their skills are AccuWeather, The Washington Post, Just Eat and Life360.

To alert owners of a notification, Alexa will sound off a chime and a green light will pulse. Alexa users will have the option to opt-in on a per skill basis, meaning you can select the skills you want to send notifications and ignore the ones you don’t want bothering you. You can also turn off notifications the same way. Asking questions like, “Alexa, what did I miss?” or “Alexa, what are my notifications?” will elicit a response from Alexa.

The update is an effort on Amazon’s part to make Alexa a more well-rounded service. Way too often it becomes a static home speaker that only helps with a few things like setting timers and such. This gives users a reason to seek out information from Alexa and makes skills more functional.

Amazon will soon be making the development tools available to enable skill notifications through Alexa Voice Service (AVS) and Alexa Skills Kit (ASK).

No word on when Amazon notifications will arrive

Amazon’s announcement didn’t reveal an exact date when Alexa users can expect notifications update.