SO YOU'VE ALLOWED Amazon's Alexa voice assistant into your life and you're loving it. But what about those skills that just aren't in the store yet? Or the ones that will never be made unless you do it yourself?
Good news then, because Amazon's Alexa Skill Blueprints have landed in the UK, offering templates (well, blueprints) to allow you to create your own.
Examples include a "house guest" skill that can teach Alexa where things are stored, how they work, and how to get around, so if you're away, your house guests can make themselves at home.
There's a "burns" template which was demonstrated to us by star of Taskmaster and Roast Battle Phil Wang, who showed how he could recreate the latter by himself, with a little help from ‘Mrs A'.
There are quiz, revision flashcard and 'did you know' options, custom questions and answers, personalised stories and ‘chore charts' for kids amongst a growing number of tile-led skill building blocks.
After launching last year in the US, the UK will be able to access the service from today, with any skills being available from any Alexa device connected to your account, not just the Echo range.
With the battle between Alexa and Google Home hotting up now, custom skills is the latest weapon as Amazon attempts to keep the lead it established before Google came out with its, arguably, better version.
Google Assistant can already do much of the functionality of Blueprints by virtue of having custom responses from the outset which can then be tied to a particular ‘scene' or set of actions.
The flexibility of Blueprints is a reminder that the original multi-skilling platform IFTTT is becoming increasingly overshadowed by the more complex routines being offered by both Alexa and Google.
The news comes as the rollout of the Alexa app for Windows 10 begins, offering the full voice assistant service to users, though in many cases, it's triggered by a button push rather than a wake-word. μ
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