One of the many things you can do with Amazon’s IoT devices is Alexa announcements. As the name suggests, it allows users to use their Echo devices as a one-way intercom and broadcast a voice message anywhere in the house. Starting today, the feature is available on Amazon’s media streaming Fire Stick devices including Fire TV Stick 1st Gen, Fire TV 1st Gen, Fire TV 2nd Gen and Fire TV 3rd Gen.
Alexa announcements is an optional feature and can be enabled/disabled by users on the Alexa App in Devices settings on their smartphone. When enabled, it can be accessed by pressing the microphone button on the Alexa Voice Remote and the voice message will be broadcasted on Echo devices in the house. The feature will initially be available only in select markets including United States, India, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany and Japan. It can come in handy for to make announcements like “dinner is ready" or a “particular episode of a TV show is streaming".
In addition to the Alexa announcements, Amazon has also announced that the official YouTube app will now be available on all Fire Stick devices across all markets including India. Placed in the Your Apps and Channels section, the YouTube app will support all Alexa voice controls that work with other video streaming platforms. So, users can search, play, pause, rewind and fast-forward anything on YouTube using voice.
YouTube was available on Fire TV devices until 2017, when Google decided to withdraw its hugely popular video streaming service in retaliation to Amazon’s decision to not carry Google products like Chromecast and Home speakers on their e-commerce store and also for keeping Amazon’s Prime Video service out of Google Chromecast.
After an agreement between the two companies in April 2019, Google decided to bring YouTube back, while Prime Video will be adding support for Chromecast. Fire Stick has over 30 million active users as on Q1 2019.