Amazon is making it easier for Alexa device owners to use Routines. The feature, which has been around for years, allows Alexa users to combine multiple tasks into a single voice command of their choosing. For example, you could make a routine that turns off your lights, plays relaxing music and locks your doors when you say, “Alexa, goodnight.” A morning routine could read you the headlines and weather forecast, as well as turn on your connected coffee maker. Now, Amazon will allow users to share their favorite routines with others.
Routines may still be considered something of a power-user feature. Because they take time to set up and aren’t necessarily well-highlighted in the Alexa mobile app where they’re under the “more” menu, it’s possible some Alexa device owners have never used them.
In the U.S., Alexa users will be able to visit the Routines section in the Alexa app, then click on the routine they want to share to grab a shareable URL. This URL can then be posted on social media, or sent in a text message, email or anywhere else.
When a user receives a shared routine, they simply click the URL while on the mobile device where they have the Alexa app installed. They’ll then follow the on-screen instructions in the app to complete the setup. Options that are shown in yellow text will indicate which fields can be customized — like specifying which smart light you want to turn off or on, for instance.
It would be useful if there was a larger online repository for Alexa routines where you could discover and activate those that have been shared by the wider community, similar to those directories created for sharing iOS Shortcuts. Also useful would be some sort of way to discover popular routines directly within the Alexa app. But these sorts of ideas are not included with the feature’s launch.
Instead, Amazon today introduced several new shareable routines created by Alexa Skill maker partners, like NPR, iHeartRadio, Headspace, Fitness Day, History Channel and others. These provide templates integrating their own voice app experiences for you to customize further.