Amazon’s voice assistant, Alexa, can now help users who are worried about having been infected with novel coronavirus.
According to the company, users can now query any device equipped with Alexa with phrases like ‘Alexa, what do I do if I think I have coronavirus?’ and the assistant will begin to quiz them about their symptoms.
The assistant will then provide users with information pulled from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as advice in an effort to provide sound advice on what to do.
Amazon’s line of Alexa-enabled devices like the Echo (pictured) can now provide users guidance on what to do if they think they may have novel coronavirus
As a part of the update, users can now also ask Alexa to ‘sing along’ while they wash their hands to help them time the task for 20 seconds – the recommended amount of time for proper sanitation.
That feature is currently available in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, India, the UK, and the US and mirrors a similar feature rolled out by Google on its home assistants.
The feature most closely mirrors one rolled out by Apple this week which updated its own voice assistant, Siri, to help provide users with guidance on coronavirus.
As reported by CNBC, Siri is now capable of responding to users who ask the assistant about whether they have novel coronavirus, COVID-19.
Queries like, ‘Hey Siri, do I have the coronavirus?’ will now elicit a questionnaire asking users if they have a fever or a cough and will recommend those that are experiencing potentially fatal symptoms to call 911.
If the symptoms appear to be more mild, Siri will instruct users to stay home and avoid contact with others instead.
Siri can now respond to users who are worried they may have COVID-19 using a questionnaire to judge their symptoms (stock)
It may also redirect some users to the App Store where they can download apps that let them consult with a doctor digitally.
Apple says that all of its answers are pulled from the U.S. Public Health Service, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, in addition to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the service is currently only available in the US, it’s possible that it could be rolled out more broadly in the future.
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