The Amazon Echo has just gained a neat new skill – it can now do your shopping for you when tell it to. That means the digital butler has gone one step closer to becoming an out-and-out manservant.
But it's not quite as simple as saying “Buy me beer” and sitting back and waiting for the crates to arrive. You'll need to be an Amazon Prime member, and you can only order items from Amazon that are eligible for Amazon Prime. Yes, the e-tail giant has found yet another way to bleed us for money. Well, it wasn't going to do it out of the goodness of its heart.
The item will also have to be something you've previously ordered. But providing you tick these boxes, using it should be a doddle. Just say, “Alexa, re-order toilet roll” and it'll scour your order history, find the bog roll and tell you the price again, in case you need reminding. It'll then ask you to confirm the order. And that's it, the Andrex is on its way.
You can change the wake word from Alexa to Amazon, if you like. We haven't tried it, but if the speech recognition is anywhere near as good as on the Amazon Fire TV remote, it should be awesome.
Amazon is on a mission to stop us leaving the house. It recently launched Dash Buttons – adhesive physical buttons that you stick around the home and press when you want to re-order an item. These rely on there being a Dash Button for your chosen brand and product, however, whereas Echo is a lot more versatile.
Then there's the GeniCan sensor that sticks to your bin and automatically adds whatever you've thrown away to your shopping list. That too can place an order for delivery. We were never that keen on the outside world anyway.