Amazon's Alexa is getting a memory

  • Amazon's director of applied science and Alexa Machine Learning highlights new skills coming to Alexa.
  • That includes a memory, which means you can ask Alexa to remember things and tell you them later.
  • Alexa will also understand more context in conversations.
Jeff Bezos
Rex Curry | Reuters
Jeff Bezos

Amazon's Alexa voice assistant will soon have a memory of its own.

Amazon's director of applied science and Alexa Machine Learning, Ruhi Sarikaya, discussed in a blog post several new features coming to Alexa, including smarter skills, contextual conversations and even memory.

Sarikaya said Alexa's memory will be basic at first: You might be able to tell Alexa your wife's favorite brand of wine, for example, and then ask Alexa to remind you when you eventually forget. There's a big opportunity here for Amazon and it could help Alexa make recommendations based on buying habits, similar to Amazon's website.

It might one day be able to remember that you prefer to order a specific type of soap from Amazon while your wife likes another brand. Or it might be able to remember when you last ordered toilet paper and that it's time to order more.

Sarikaya discussed other features, like "Context Carryover," which means you can ask Alexa "What's Bruce Springsteen's first album?" and then follow that question up with a statement like "Play it now," after she provides an answer. This sort of functionality is already available from Google Assistant.

Sarikaya said Amazon Alexa will also soon be able to dip into "skills," which typically need to be installed by users, to provide information. "I recently asked: 'Alexa, how do I remove an oil stain from my shirt?' She replied: 'Here is Tide Stain Remover,'" Sarikaya said, as an example.

Sarikaya's comments show how important Alexa is becoming for Amazon's business, and how it's not only an assistant but a primary means by which people consume and shop on Amazon.

WATCH: Amazon is so much more than online shopping — here's how big its become