Amazon Alexa iCloud Calendar support gives Echo your schedule

Amazon's Alexa now supports iCloud Calendar, allowing the virtual assistant to check your schedule on the Apple service. The update means that users of the Amazon Echo – as well as the Echo Dot and Amazon Tap – can get an instant read-out of what's on their agenda for the day, by asking "Alexa, what's on my calendar today?" There's also support for adding new appointments, again all by voice.

Setup is straightforward, though does require pulling out your phone. From the Alex app, head over to the settings tab. There, you'll be able to link your iCloud Calendar account with your Alexa account.

Currently, Amazon says, those using Alexa in the US, UK, and Germany will be able to integrate iCloud Calendar. It brings the total number of scheduling services that the virtual agent supports to five, with Apple's having lagged behind rival systems from Google and Microsoft. Those with a Google G Suite account, a regular Google account, an Office 365 commercial account with an Exchange Online mailbox, or an account can pair their calendar up with Amazon's service.

It's worth remembering that your schedule will then be available to anybody who asks. Since Alexa still doesn't support multiple profiles, she'll respond to whoever asks about the agenda that day. Similarly, anybody will be able to add new entries to your calendar.

In contrast, Google announced support for up to five different accounts on Google Home earlier this year. The search giant's smart speaker uses voice identification to differentiate between users, and automatically picks the correct associated accounts from which to pull the data they've asked for. Ironically, though, the Google Assistant is limited in other ways.

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If you've got a G Suite account – formerly known as Google Apps – for which you or your company pays Google for the privilege of hosting email, calendar, and other services, right now Google Home isn't compatible with them. You can't get calendar information or, indeed, other smart services such as asking when an upcoming flight will leave based on confirmation emails in your inbox. For that, you'll need a free Google account instead.

In short, until Amazon adds voice differentiation between people, or Google adds G Suite support, neither is the ideal way to manage a business calendar unless you live alone. If you're eager to give iCloud Calendar integration with Alexa a try, you can enable it today.