If You Use an Amazon Alexa, You'll Lose This Service Nov. 8, Reports Say
Users who rely on Alexa will no longer be able to access this soon.
From setting alarms that help you get up in the morning to reading out the weather before you step outside, Amazon Alexa has become a staple in many of our daily lives. There have been more than 87 million smart devices installed in people's homes, offices, and other spaces since 2017, with nearly half of those devices utilizing the Alexa, per Statista. Unfortunately, that means that around 46.5 million devices are about to lose one important service, as of Nov. 8. Read on to find out what you will no longer be able to do using an Amazon Alexa device, starting Monday.
Amazon Alexa will no longer have access to your email as of Nov. 8.
If you use your Amazon Alexa to check your email, you might be disappointed in just a few days. Amazon has informed customers that it will cut off Alexa's access to email, according to an email from the Amazon Alexa team shared by users on both Reddit and Twitter. This change will go into effect on Nov. 8, per the email.
"This means that you will no longer be able to link your Gmail or Microsoft email account with Alexa to browse or manage your email and any linked email account(s) will automatically be unlinked," the email states.
On Nov. 3, Amazon confirmed the change in an email to Best Life. "Starting on November 8, 2021, customers will no longer be able to access their email through Alexa," Amazon said in a statement. "This change will also apply to email notifications, email routines, and package tracking for retailers outside of Amazon."
This change will also affect some email-related features.
You won't just lose the ability to hear Alexa read off your emails to you, however. According to the Amazon Alexa email, the change will also impact other features related to your email, like email routines and email notifications. But if you have a calendar account linked to Alexa, it will continue to work.
"Additionally, we will no longer support email package tracking if you have opted into this feature to receive updates from retailers outside of Amazon. However, you can continue to ask, 'Alexa, where's my stuff?' to stay on top of upcoming Amazon deliveries," the email update says.
Users have been able to have Alexa read their emails since 2018.
Alexa gained the ability to read email messages in Dec. 2018, according to CNBC. At the time, Amazon supported email accounts from Google's Gmail, Microsoft's Outlook.com, Hotmail, and Live.com, giving users the option the ask Alexa to read out their newest emails, delete an email, or reply to an email just by voice.
"Some of your contacts and email messages are stored in the cloud to provide the service. This information is encrypted and stored securely in Amazon's servers. Amazon does not read an individual's email, except in very specific cases such as if that individuals asks us to do so or when we need to for security or compliance purposes, such as investigating a bug or abuse," an Amazon spokesperson told CNBC at the time.
And with nearly four years of capability, some Alexa users are more than frustrated with the sudden removal of this service. "Alexa just dropped email integration. I got plenty of value from it and this feels like a rare step back," one Twitter user wrote on Nov. 2.
But similar devices won't have access to emails either.
Alexa won't be the only smart home device that will not have access to emails. Google's own smart voice assistant, the Google Home, has not been able to read emails and texts messages for quite some time, according to Smart Home Point. Per the smart home news outlet, this is possibly due to privacy concerns, despite other third party devices, like Alexa, offering this service over the years.
"For the longest time it was Alexa that could access my Workgroup (GSUITE) email and calendar, when Google Home itself still couldn't," one Twitter user confirmed. Another noted, "Amazon is removing Alexa email updates. Amazing that neither Google Home nor Alexa can handle reading emails. Tech that has been around since 1998. Wonder how visually impaired people cope."