If you rely on snappy news bulletins over your Amazon Echo or third-party Alexa speaker, things are getting a bit more in depth – as BBC News has announced a new feature that gives you access to more in-depth reporting, speeches, and analysis available through the Alexa assistant.
Alexa, and other smart assistants like it, have proved themselves to be hugely convenient information sources, given the ease of making requests just with your voice. It’s often, though, that you only get a brief snippet on a topic that doesn’t delve deep into the matter at hand – meaning you have to do some separate web searching as well.
That won’t be the case with BBC News at least, with some new interactivity options allowing you to ask for wider context around the news stories of the day.
Users can do this by asking Alexa “Give me BBC News”, and then saying “more from BBC News” for longer reportage on the issue. You can also ask Alexa to “skip” to different news items if a particular one isn’t sparking your interest.
The feature has already landed on Alexa, with Google Assistant support set to come at an unspecified date down the line.
More in-depth reporting
Mukul Devichand, and executive editor at BBC Voice + AI, elaborated on the usefulness of the feature, suggesting that “By making the news interactive on smart speakers, listeners can jump to the stories they need to hear just before rushing out of the house, or, when they have more time, they can delve into a piece and find out more.”
Devichand added that “Smart speakers give us the chance to reimagine what radio would be like if it were invented today, free from its technical limitations.”
The more extensive and interactive news bulletins likely won’t change the medium overnight, of course – and our friends at Gizmodo say that the feature isn’t entirely in working order yet, despite an initial release on Alexa devices.
However, more choice over the length and specificity of news you receive is only going to be a good thing for those wanting more than a soundbite or two to get to grips with the world’s most pressing events.