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Amazon Alexa Lets Users Craft Their Own Skills And Customized Responses

“Alexa Skill Blueprints is an entirely new way for you to teach Alexa personalized skills just for you and your family,” says Amazon Alexa VP Steve Rabuchin. And brands will have to keep up.

Amazon’s Alexa Skill Blueprints appears to be a quick for one of the more frequent complaints associated with voice activated questions and responses: getting the right kind of answer the user wants.

The Skill Blueprints program, which is rolling out today to Amazon Echo devices, allow owners to create their own “personalized” skills and responses for Alexa. The program relies on a few basic templates that offers room to create customized experiences for Alexa within minutes just by filling in the blanks.

Some examples Amazon presents in a release include a user supplying a specific answer to a basic question like “Alexa, who is the best mom in the world?”

Other skills allow users to impart information to other Echo listeners, such as a skill that offers helpful information for the babysitter by starting with “Alexa, open My Sitter.”

The closest offering that Alexa rival Google Assistant has to Blueprints are “routines,” which started to become available to Google Home users last month. At the moment, there don’t seem to be much room for brands in Google Assistant’s routines, which allow the user to set up trigger responses and actions when someone says specific phrases like “Okay, Google, good morning” or  “Hey Google, bedtime.” Other Google Assistant routines are set up for I’m Home, Leaving Home, Commuting Home, and Commuting to Work.

Addressing the bigger consumer question of “What can I ask these voice activated assistants to do” is something Google and brands are working on. Apart from getting the right spoken answers to questions, citing a CNBC segment, 9to5Google reports that the search giant is collaborating with brands on a video “how to” series for Google Assistant users, which could replace the featured snippet reply in search results.

In any case, marketers know they have to respond to the drive toward greater personalization from search and other sources. And that drive is clearly accelerating with Alexa Skill Blueprints, where consumers are being encouraged to build experiences into the voice activated assistant. As Amazon notes, the skills Alexa users create are specially designed for that person and their family members, and will only appear on the devices registered to the owners Amazon account.

“Alexa Skill Blueprints is an entirely new way for you to teach Alexa personalized skills just for you and your family,” said Steve Rabuchin, VP, Amazon Alexa. “You don’t need experience building skills or coding to get started—my family created our own jokes skill in a matter of minutes, and it’s been a blast to interact with Alexa in a totally new and personal way.”

As consumers test out Alexa call-and-response queries like “What is the best city?” it’s conceivable that travel and hospitality marketers will try to find a way to make their brand names be associated with those answers, as will restaurants when the question “Who has the best burger?” or “Where can I get the best coffee near me?” become more popular than simply asking for the weather, music playing, and setting a timer.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of GeoMarketing.com. A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.