Alexa, Amazon's voice assistant powering its Echo devices, has now been updated with the latest COVID-19 related features for Indian users. Alexa will now be able to help users locate COVID-19 testing and vaccination centres, as well as with information on vaccination availability among other details. Amazon says the information is sourced from authentic sources including the CoWIN portal, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website, as well as MapmyIndia. Users will also be provided with the option to donate for COVID-19 welfare in India using Alexa commands. COVID-19 related features were rolled out in the US in April.
With the help of New Delhi-based MapmyIndia, Amazon says that Alexa can now locate the nearest COVID-19 testing centre and provide the distance to it. Users can get started by asking questions like “Alexa where can I get a COVID-19 test?” Amazon explained that Alexa recognises the users' location from their device registration and provides a list of the vaccination centres near them. Users can use this information to time their visit to the CoWIN portal for booking an appointment.
By entering the pin code and age into the Vaccine Info Alexa skill, users can employ Alexa to search vaccination centres for anybody. This feature can be handy if the users want to check the vaccine availability for their friends or family in a different geographical location. If vaccines are unavailable at the time of checking, a reminder can also be set to check for its availability later.
Apart from this, Alexa can also be asked to provide updates on the vaccine completion rates in India as well as to clear COVID-19 vaccination related doubts that the users might have, such as the safety of the vaccine, the process of registration, and COVID-19 helpline number of each state.
Alexa will also give users an option to donate for COVID-19 welfare in India. Amazon has partnered with Indian NGOs like Akshaya Patra, Give India, and Goong. By saying, “Alexa, donate now,” the users will receive an app notification and an SMS containing the link to donate to their preferred NGO.
In April this year, Amazon had rolled out these feature in the exclusively in the US. Amazon says Alexa answered tens of millions of questions related to COVID-19 last year. The company says Alexa can answer questions about vaccine availability and eligibility requirements for more than 85 countries.
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