The user interface is really simple – it resembles texting a friend using an app like WhatsApp.
Using the chat function, you’re able to access all of the same features as when talking to Alexa out-loud. So, you’ll be able to control any smart home kit, get the latest headlines and weather reports, send messages for Alexa to read out-loud in other rooms of the house, add appointments to your calendar, update a shared To Do list, and set timers when cooking.
According to Amazon, this new feature is still in a “public preview,” so you might run into a few quirks or rough edges. It’s also not available to every Amazon Echo right now. Amazon usually rolls out the feature to small group of users to test before making it available to the thousands of Echo owners worldwide. Alexa even highlights that it’s still a pretty new addition to its feature set, noting that “typing with me is part of a public preview, so I’m still getting the hang of it!”
The new addition was spotted in testing by tech blog GearBrain earlier this month.