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Amazon Echo's UK owners can now shop just by talking

"Alexa, order paper towels."
Matt Brian, @m4tt
October 20, 2016
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Now that the Amazon Echo has reached the UK, thousands of Brits are getting to grips with the cylindrical speaker's smart assistant, Alexa. Companies like Just Eat and Sky have created app-like "Skills" for the Echo, allowing owners to re-order their last takeaway and receive news updates, but Amazon's own integrations have been lacking compared to those available in the US. To celebrate availability of the Echo Dot, the retailer today confirmed that a number of new features are available on UK Echos, including Alexa voice shopping and ESP (Echo Spatial Perception).

With Alexa voice shopping, Prime subscribers can talk to their Echo to order products and check the status of their delivery. Amazon says "order paper towels," "order dog food" and "buy some LEGO" are some good examples of what you can ask Alexa to find. The assistant will then find the relevant item(s), ensure they're available for Prime delivery and apply any available discounts.

Once you've added what you were looking for, a simple "Yes" will confirm everything. Ask "Alexa, where's my stuff?" and it'll let you know when you can expect your items to arrive.

With Echo Spatial Perception, people with more than one Echo in their house will have a better time getting the correct speaker to respond. Amazon says the ESP technology can calculate the clarity of a user's voice, determine which Echo is closest and have it instantly respond to the request. In our Echo Dot review, we solved that problem by renaming the "Alexa" trigger, but the new update should negate the need for that completely.

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