Alexa has long been able to give a traffic report when asked. But because this information is usually spoken by a smart speaker or display in the home, it isn't much use once you get behind the wheel.
To fix this — and catch up with Google Assistant — Amazon has rolled out an update to Alexa, helping you get those directions sent to your phone, and even opened in your preferred maps app.
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All you have to do is ask any Alexa device something like, "How is the traffic to the airport?" and the assistant will let you know about the traffic status, as well as how long it will take to get there.
Next, just say, "Alexa, send that to my phone" and the assistant will confirm it has understood your instruction. Seconds later, a notification will arrive on your smartphone (assuming you have the Alexa app installed.)
Tap this, and driving instructions to the airport, or whichever location you asked about earlier, will load up in your default maps app. That last point is important, as it means the Alexa notification will open Google Maps, Apple Maps, or whichever app you normally use, then program it with the destination you asked for.
Of course, Amazon can offer freedom of choice like this because it doesn't offer a mapping app of its own to point Alexa users towards.
We think this is a small but useful addition to Alexa's abilities, and helps make the assistant's role in our lives feel more seamless. It also helps to build a link between Alexa inside the home and out, just as Amazon and Google are working to bring their assistants to cars, headphones, and everywhere else beyond their natural environment of the home.