After spending months in lockdown adjusting to the restrictions that have kept us away from some of our favourite places, Amazon has released new background sounds to make it that bit more bearable.
It’s still a couple of weeks until restaurants and pubs can begin serving food and drink again and even then, the atmosphere isn’t going to be like it was when they were packed out.
Most offices are still shut, as are libraries, but Alexa can make it sound as if you’re in all these places – and more. And it’s as simple as asking. Just say:
“Alexa, Play Café Sounds”
“Alexa, Open Office Sounds”
“Alexa, Open Library Sounds”
“Alexa, Open Seaside Sounds”
“Alexa, Play Farm Sounds
“Alexa, Start Stadium Sounds”
“Alexa, Start My Applause”
“Alexa, Open Highway Sounds”
“Alexa, Open Airplane Ride”
Those last two clearly haven’t been anglicised as we Brits don’t say ‘highway’ or ‘airplane’.
Alexa already had a collection of background sounds, such as birdsong, rain, thunderstorm, rainforest sounds and white noise, but these are great additions if you can’t stand working in a silent room. Ask for café sounds, for example, and you’ll hear the grinding of coffee beans and the hiss of the steam wand.
If you don’t yet have an Echo speaker or smart display, here are the best models to buy. And don’t forget, Alexa is also on Amazon’s Fire tablets.
Although stadium sounds is one of the new options and anyone wanting the crowd noise while watching closed-door Premier League matches on Prime Video can enable the Stadium Atmosphere feature which has been developed by EA Sports from recordings of previous live matches.
Amazon polled 2000 Brits to find out which sounds they most missed during lockdown and 70% said it was restaurants and cafés. Over half missed the sound of the beach, despite the fact that – at the time of the survey – the public was free to go to any beach they liked.
Pubs and bars were third on the list, and 51% of those asked simply missed a calm and quiet place – most likely because families are stuck together indoors for the majority of the time.
Around a third missed the office atmosphere and commuting.
There’s plenty more you can do with Alexa if you’re bored, from playing games to asking her to do funny things.