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Amazon’s Echo Show can now scan barcodes to flesh out your shopping list

Amazon’s Echo Show can now scan barcodes to flesh out your shopping list


Prime placement: right next to the kitchen can

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Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

In our review of the Amazon Echo Show 5 smart display, Dan called it the “smart alarm clock to get.” But I think I might move mine to the kitchen, right next to the garbage can.

That’s partly because Amazon has just added the ability for the Echo Show 5 and Echo Show 8’s camera to scan barcodes, and automatically add those items to your shopping list (via VentureBeat). I might do that when I’ve got an empty package I’m about to toss in the trash.

You start by saying “Alexa, scan this to my shopping list.” Up pops this screen:

Image by Sean Hollister / The Verge

I just tried it with a milk carton, orange juice, and a New Balance shoebox, and it seems to work fine in each case, adding each to my Alexa shopping list. Though as you can see below, some results are less useful than others:

Image by Sean Hollister / The Verge
Image by Sean Hollister / The Verge

Do you really need the specificity of 64-ounce lactose free 2 percent milk before you run to the store, anyhow? You know what kind of milk you need. Maybe that’d be useful if you’re dictating an order to a remote caretaker, and there is a button in the Alexa app to let you share a shopping list with others. But most of the time it might be simpler to say “Amazon, add milk to my shopping list” instead of the whole scanning-the-barcode thing.

(It might also be handy for products with hard-to-remember dimensions, like a furnace filter or a pack of screws.)

But the main reason I’m moving mine to the kitchen is simply because I haven’t really wound up using it in the bedroom. Anything I ask Alexa to do there, a regular Echo Dot can do.

That’s not the only cool trick Amazon added to Alexa today, though — you can also now ask for an alarm or reminder to play on a specific Echo device, instead of it defaulting to the room you’re already in. That’s a feature I’ll be using a lot. I’ve had to cancel quite a few alarms in the living room after realizing I’d be in the office by the time it goes off.

To do that, say something like “Alexa, set a time for 20 minutes on my living room Echo.” You may need to assign your Echo device to a room first, though.

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