Amazon is yanking Alexa’s ability to read your email

In less than a week, Alexa will lose the ability to check your Gmail or Outlook inbox, and she won't be able to track third-party packages, either.

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If you’ve been relying on Alexa to read the latest messages in your email inbox, bad news: The feature will be going away next week.

Users on Reddit and Twitter are sharing a support message from Amazon in which the company warns that it will cut off Alexa’s access to email accounts starting on November 8. Reached by TechHive, an Amazon rep confirmed that the feature will be going away.

“We’re writing to inform you that beginning on November 8th, 2021, email access will no longer be supported for Alexa customers,” the support message reads. “This means 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.”

While Alexa’s ability to read email messages from Gmail and Outlook accounts is going away, you’ll still be able to link Gmail, Outlook, and iCloud calendars to Alexa (phew!), the Amazon support message says.

Alexa gained the ability to read email messages back in 2018, allowing users to say “Alexa, read my email” to have Alexa dictate any email you’ve received in the past 24 hours.

You could also ask Alexa to delete, archive, or reply to a message, as well as check whether you’d received an email from a particular contact.  You could even add an action to a routine that would make Alexa tick off a summary of your latest messages.

Besides reading your email messages, Alexa could track packages from third-party retailers by scanning your inbox for shipment notifications. That handy feature is going away too, although Alexa will (of course) still be able to track packages from Amazon.

The Amazon support message doesn’t give a reason for the decision to yank Alexa’s email abilities. 

Answering a query from TechHive, an Amazon spokesperson said: "We regularly evaluate the features and experiences available to customers and prioritize those that make customers’ lives easier and allow them to get the most of our their Alexa experience. As with everything we do, we will continue to evolve the experience based on customer feedback."

Fair enough, but it’s surprising that Amazon would kill the feature will barely a week’s notice.

Updated shortly after publication with comments from Amazon.

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