Want to know why Alexa is so smart and so popular? Because Amazon was wise enough to open up the smart assistant platform to third parties early on. As such, you have competitors like Siri playing catch up. And there’s a lot to do, especially since Amazon just announced a big Alexa milestone on Friday.
The company said Alexa now supports more than 1,000 third party skills, which means developers all over the world have worked to build Alexa support into their apps. That’s why you can ask Alexa to control your Philips Hue lightbulbs, to play music on Spotify or get the news from NPR. It’s why Capital One members can get their bank account balances, or Domino’s customers can order pizza right to their door. It’s how Fitbit owners can get a snapshot of their activity. Try asking Google Now for this sort of stuff, or Siri or Cortana, and you won’t find that kind of broad support.
It’s why Alexa is still my favorite voice engine and, perhaps, why we may see Apple introduce a Siri SDK during WWDC next month. Kudos, Amazon.