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Amazon’s Alexa updated with a new feature

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Amazon Alexa. Courtesy Photo

Through Alexa, it’s now possible to shop for millions of products with just your voice, even if it isn’t something you’ve purchased in the past.

Amazon said that Alexa, the digital voice assistant residing inside the company’s Echo smart speaker and Fire TV, can now be used to order tens of millions of items — from sunscreen to batteries to chocolate — by simply asking.

To order through Alexa, ask the virtual assistant for a product and Alexa will suggest something that ships with Prime and then spits out the order total. Simply say “yes” to buy it. Products purchased using Alexa qualify for free returns.

Alexa previously was limited to reordering items someone had already purchased or recommending company-selected printers or laptops through a service called Amazon’s Choice. All the items now available for purchase must be eligible for Prime, Amazon’s membership service that includes unlimited two-day shipping. New items are being added daily to the list.

Items ineligible for purchase through Alexa include apparel, shoes, jewelry, watches, Amazon Fresh, Amazon Prime Pantry, Amazon Prime Now and add-on items.

While the Echo has turned into an unexpected hit for the connected home, Amazon will have to work harder to stay ahead of coming competition. Google plans to release its Google Home smart speaker later this year and Apple is rumored to be working on a competing device, too.

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