Earlier this year we announced a limited developer preview of notifications in Alexa skills. Today, we are expanding the developer preview: you can apply to participate and help us improve the feature before we make it generally available next quarter.
Customers Can Opt in to Receive Important Updates
The notifications feature gives Alexa the capability to alert customers with information that’s important to them, and is already available for Amazon Shopping and select skills.
Customers opt in to notifications per skill using the Amazon Alexa app. After opting in to notifications on a given skill, the customer is alerted when there is new information to retrieve—with both a sound and an on-device indicator (LED or on-screen equivalent) on their Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, or their Alexa-enabled third party device. The customer can simply ask, “Alexa, what did I miss?”, or “Alexa, read my notifications,” and Alexa will read the new notifications. Users must opt in before a skill can send them notifications, and can disable or suppress notifications using the Alexa app or by putting devices in Do Not Disturb mode.
What Makes a Good Notification?
We believe that it is a privilege when customers provide permission to be notified, and that the most valuable notifications are those that are personalized, relevant, and timely. Our goal is to delight customers with every notification. With this goal in mind:
- We encourage notifications that are transaction-based, or personalized to the user.
- We do not permit notifications that contain advertising or promotional messaging.
- We believe notifications should be sent sparingly. Customers may ignore or be annoyed by notifications that are too frequent.
Several developers have already launched skills that provide personalized, relevant, and timely notifications:
- Life360 enables families to ask for real-time updates sharing the whereabouts of loved ones, and uses notifications when family members have departed or arrived at designated places like school, work, or soccer practice.
- Domino’s allows customers to order pizza and other food, and provides notifications to customers in the US with the status of their orders.
How Can I Apply for the Developer Preview?
If your skill has a good reason to send notifications, and your use case meets the criteria described above, tell us about it via the short survey here.
We’ll select a subset of the skills that apply, and will provide more information to those selected. Even if you are not selected for the preview, we’ll let you know when the notifications feature becomes generally available.
Build a New Skill, Earn Developer Perks
Bring your big idea to life with Alexa and earn perks through our tiered rewards system. US developers, publish a skill before the end of the year, and receive an Alexa developer hoodie. If 100 customers use your skill in its first 30 days in the Alexa Skills Store, you can also apply to receive a free Echo Dot to help you make Alexa even smarter. If you need inspiration, consider creating a holiday-themed skill to get into the holiday spirit. If you're not in the US, check out our promotions in the UK, Germany, and India. Learn more about our promotion and start building today.