Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Enable any of Alexa’s 1400 skills just by asking/yelling for them
Amazon has just added another layer of voice control to its voice-controlled Alexa AI. Now, instead of going into the Amazon Alexa mobile app to add "skills", or app functionality, to your Amazon Echo speakers, you can just tell Alexa to add new skills for you. So, if you say, "Alexa, enable NBC News," or "Alexa, enable Fitbit" or "Alexa, enable Dad-Bot" (this is a real thing) to an Echo speaker, the smart software will add those third-party skill sets to your set up, so you can issue more voice commands for those apps.
It's a small update but one that is meant to make the whole Alexa experience even more frictionless. Right now it's admittedly very easy to go into the Alexa mobile app, go to Skills, search for new Skills and tap "Enable"; but the new voice-command feature is in line with Amazon's vision for a future that seems to involve as little human-computer screen interaction as possible.
Amazon has also said that developers have now created more than 1,400 skills for Alexa, including new skills from bigs like Honeywell and Lyft. The most popular Amazon Alexa skills are from Jeopardy, Daily Affirmation, The Bartender, and Magic 8 ball, which, if the Echo were available overseas, might help explain the Brexit vote. But alas, it is not.