Amazon Echo keeps you up on the times while spitting mad rhymes

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Amazon's Echo and Alexa, helping us rhyme since 2016.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

The latest update to the Amazon Echo adds a host of new news sources to the smart speaker’s Flash Briefing feature — and also gives it some mad rhyming skills.

With today’s update, the Echo will read news from the likes of CNN, NPR and Discovery. Bloomberg, ESPN Radio and The Economist are also now on offer and can be configured via the Alexa Android app.

Amazon’s always-listening Echo is no stranger to gaining new capabilities on a regular basis, and that’s a very good thing. Recent updates to the surprisingly useful Bluetooth speaker — which boasts the best voice recognition we’ve ever seen — added streaming from Spotify Premium and letting owners order up anything from Uber rides to Domino’s pizzas.

In addition to today’s big news upgrade, Amazon is adding a new trick to Echo’s growing list. The Echo now features integration with RhymeZone, a dictionary that allows users to ask Alexa for words that rhyme with one of their choosing. For example, asking Alexa which words rhyme with “Echo” will presumably produce results such as, well, that’s probably a bad example. “Gecko,” maybe?

Abysmal example aside, the RhymeZone integration is a prime example of little features, called Skills, that give Alexa and the Amazon Echo a little more life beyond reading books and shouting news at you. Those things are great, sure, but we all enjoy a little fun in our lives every once in a while.

Obviously, the Echo can be bought from Amazon, with the accompanying Amazon Alexa app available to download for free from the Google Play Store or the iOS App Store.