Family Calendar with Amazon Echo

Update 15th February 2017

Alexa can now be paired with an Outlook.com account which means you no longer have to use this workaround.

 

We’ve used the “Family Room” feature from Windows Phone and although it’s been discontinued the shared Outlook.com calendar is still vital. We’ve got an Amazon Echo but when setting it up found that only Google calendar integration is available. It turns out that it is possible to hook this up albeit without the ability to add new events via Alexa.

First you’ll need a Google account. If you don’t already have one you can set one up just to use with Alexa. We’ll come back to Google later.

Now open your browser of choice and log into your Outlook.com account. Go to the Calendar app. On the left you should see a list of “Your calendars” and your shared calendar will be listed e.g. “Family Room”. Click Settings (The cog near the top right of the screen next to your profile picture) and Options. You’ll see a link in the tree of settings called “Publish calendar”. Click this then select the name of your shared calendar e.g. Family Room. Under “Show availability, titles and locations” click create. There will be two links created – you only need the ICS one.

Log into your Google Calendar account. On the left side there is a section called “Other calendars” with a small downwards arrow to the right. Click this and select “Add by URL”. Paste the URL you created earlier and click Add Calendar.

Google Calendar will now add all the events from your shared calendar and will periodically update when the Outlook.com ICS feed updates.

Finally log into the Alexa web portal (https://alexa.amazon.com or https://alexa.amazon.co.uk etc). Go to Settings and in the “Account” section select Calendar. Link your Google calendar (if you haven’t already) and you’ll see a list of available calendars. Because I don’t use my Google calendar other than for the Family Room import I selected only the Family Room option.

Once that’s done you can query Alexa about things in your family calendar!

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