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3 ways Amazon is improving Alexa on your Echo

Amazon says it's adding 31 new features to Alexa, but we're particularly excited about these three.

Katie Teague Writer II
Katie is a writer covering all things how-to at CNET, with a focus on Social Security and notable events. When she's not writing, she enjoys playing in golf scrambles, practicing yoga and spending time on the lake.
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Katie Teague
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Amazon Echo and Alexa are getting new features.

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If you're ready for new Amazon Echo and Alexa updates, you'll be excited to know that Amazon is working with developers to create a better experience for you. At its Alexa Live 2020 event on July 22, Amazon announced 31 new developer features that'll help give you a more "natural" experience with Alexa -- but we're most excited about three of them.

The newest tools will help you better interact with Alexa and your smart home devices, as well as have a better experience with apps such as Twitter and TikTok. The new features are available to developers now (some in beta), so it's possible you'll see them incorporated on your device in the months ahead. Here are three new features coming to your Amazon Echo and Alexa voice assistant.

Alexa Conversations

Alexa Conversations, currently in beta for developers, will help the way you interact with Alexa by making the voice bot more conversational. The developers will have the ability to add dialog to any given command you may make. For example, if you say "Alexa, ask Roomba to start vacuuming," Alexa may ask if you'd like the robot vacuum to avoid certain rooms.

Alexa for Apps

A new feature coming to iPhones  and Android is called Alexa for Apps. This tool will allow you to search inside an app using Alexa. For example, you can say, "Alexa, ask Twitter to search for #StimulusChecks." The voice assistant will then open the Twitter app on your phone with a list of results you can browse through. Also, if you book a ride through the Uber skill, Alexa will ask if you want to see the driver's location on a map in the app.

Amazon says Alexa for Apps is also being added to other apps like TikTok, Yellow Pages, Sonic, Zynga and more.

Alexa will have more ways to interact with you

Alexa's multimodal function means you'll see an upgrade in the way you interact with the voice assistant on your Echo Show and Fire TV displays -- specifically visually. New gestures will be incorporated into the devices, such as single-finger drag, swipe to delete and long press gestures, for example. You'll also see new editable text boxes where you can input a text response by touch or TV remote.

Alexa-responsive components will also be an option where a linear or circular progress bar is displayed so you can see activity in progress, like loading a page. 

Amazon has also recently released other features for its Echo speaker and Alexa assistant, like this one that lets you go hands-free in the Alexa app. You can also now drop in on all your Amazon Echo speakers at the same time. There are still issues you may experience with your device, however, like these eight frustrating Amazon Echo problems -- which have surprisingly easy solutions.

Watch this: Alexa's best hidden talent lets you make your own commands