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Amazon Echo now plays music, books from multiple accounts; gains BART schedules

Don't want to hear the kid's hip-hop on your Echo? Just add another Amazon account and tell Alexa to use it for music and audiobooks.

The Amazon Echo got a little more useful on Friday both for families and for those who live in the San Francisco Bay, California area.

Folks that use BART, the regional rail line north of Silicon Valley can travel times read aloud by Alexa using the Echo's new BART Times skill.


To use it, first enable the Skill in the Amazon Alexa app and then say, "Alexa, open Bart Times." Alexa will first ask for your home and destination BART stations.

To test the process, I chose South San Francisco and Montgomery Street. Alexa then told me when the next three trains depart and arrive between the two.

While that's useful, not everyone lives in the Bay Area. For everyone else, Alexa can now play audiobooks and music from multiple Amazon accounts. Until now, the Echo was tied to content from a single account.

Again, using the Amazon Alexa companion app, you simply add a second Amazon account to the Household Profile setting. Once that's done, simply say, "Alexa, switch accounts" to flip between them. You can also ask "Alexa, which account is this?" to determine the one currently in use.

It may sound like a trivial change but the multiple account support will be welcomed by many. Amazon's Echo can surely be used by a single person but since it works with one universal interface -- voice commands -- it's useful in a household with several people.

Not everyone wants to listen to the same music or audiobooks in a home, however, which makes the new account switching support so handy.

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