Alexa is making quite a name for herself. The “smart” voice-powered star of Amazon’s growing line of Echo products can play music, audiobooks, games and more; all you have to do is ask.
She can also play podcasts. That’s definitely one of the Echo’s most overlooked and underrated features, though there’s definitely room for improvement.
Indeed, while it’s impossibly easy to play a podcast — the Echo pulls directly from TuneIn, which has zillions of them — things get a little murky when you want to venture beyond the basics.
Suppose, for example, you want to listen to Wendy Zukerman’s awesome Science Vs. Just say, “Alexa, play the Science Vs. podcast.” Presto! She immediately starts streaming the latest episode. Same goes for, oh, I dunno, Battlestar Recaptica.
But note the key words there: “latest episode.” Want an earlier one? You do have the option of saying, “Alexa, play the previous episode.” Want the one before that? Say the phrase again. And on and on. It’s a terribly clunky way to get to the episode you want — assuming you even know where it falls in the order. Knowing the title or number of the episode doesn’t help; Alexa can only play the most recent one.