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Amazon is making it much easier for Echo and Alexa-powered devices to find and use voice apps designed to extend their virtual assistant functionality.
More Power to Alexa
When you ask Alexa a question it doesn’t know the answer to, the digital assistant is typically forthcoming with its “Hmmmm, I don’t know that” answer. Unfortunately, that isn’t very useful. Instead, now, Alexa will start to recommend relevant third-party skills that actually help you out.
You’d then have to browse through the Alexa Skill Store to find a skill that suited your needs. And while there are now numerous skills to fill a vast array of functional needs, one that instantly suggested a plug for the skill-gap wasn’t available. This new functionality was first spotted by Voicebot.ai. Check out the example in the video below.
Amazon confirmed the skill recommendation function as a new feature, but one that isn’t yet broadly rolled out to the wider Alexa user-base. Speaking to TechCrunch, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed that “In limited scenarios, Alexa will suggest skills that may be helpful to answer a customer’s question. We are excited for this feature to roll out to more customers over time to help them discover new skills and get information through Alexa.”
Something for the Kids
This expansion comes at the same time as Amazon begins to roll out Alexa skills for kids, in the U.S.
In a blog post, Amazon confirmed that the available skills include The SpongeBob Challenge from Nickelodeon, Sesame Street from Sesame Workshop, and Amazon Storytime, as well as several more games including The Tickle Monster Game!, Animal Sounds, Animal sounds quiz, Old Macdonald, Silly Things, and Zoo Walk.
Amazon also suggested that “hundreds” of developers are waiting to create Alexa kid’s skills in the near future.
Voice searching for both adults and kids is becoming ubiquitous, and Amazon is at the forefront — as with most technology these days, it seems.
Will this encourage you to use Alexa more? Have you always found the skills you need? Or are there gaps in the Alexa-skills repository. Let us know your thoughts on Alexa in the comments below!