Amazon Alexa Has More Skills Than You Do

Amazon Alexa, the voice-controlled artificial intelligence behind the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot in-home speakers, has amassed a whopping 10,000 skills. Skills are features, tool, actions, or abilities enabled by developers. As such, Amazon is saying a big Thank You! to its supporters. 

"We’ve been blown away by the innovation and activity in the Alexa developer community," according to Amazon's Dave Izbitski. The number of Amazon skills has shot upward quickly, with the number tripling since September 2016. "We’ve come a long way in the short time that the Alexa Skills Kit has been available for developers, and we’ve seen a wide range of unique skills that allow customers to do everything from reorder their favorite morning coffee, stay mindful through meditation, control smart home lighting or check their bank account balance."

Amazon skills range from petty to powerful. My 12-year-old's favorite skill is to query Alexa about "Harry Potter" trivia. My 10-year-old's favorite skill comes in the form of knock-knock jokes, with her math homework a close second. Amazon says Echo owners love to play voice-based games, which are often highly rated. Favorites include The Magic Door and Jeopardy! I'm more apt to have Alexa tell me about my calendar, commute, and the news. In fact, listening to the flash briefing is among the top five skills put to use by Echo owners.

These and a handful of others were among the earliest skills created by developers. Other early adopters included Domino's which let you place a standard order just by asking for it. More, like CitiBank, allow you to easily pay your credit card bill. After news ang gaming, education/reference, lifestyle, and novelty/humor round out the top five Alexa skills. Let's not forget music. With Spotify, Pandora, and Amazon Prime Music support, it's easy to find just the right tunes when in the kitchen making dinner or to accompany your early-morning workouts. 

Amazon says a game called Beat the Intro was the 10,000th published skill. It's a music trivia that asks people to name a song by listening only to the short introduction. You have to be quick!

"We want to thank the developer community for their tireless efforts and innovation across all skill categories," continued Izbitski. "We knew when we created Alexa that the possibilities would be endless. The Alexa Skills Kit enables anyone, anywhere, using almost any programming language to see their ideas come to life and create new voice experiences for all of us to enjoy every day."

You can read more about the Alexa Skills Kit here

Eric Zeman I am a journalist who covers the mobile telecommunications industry. I freelance for ProgrammableWeb and other online properties.
 

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