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Amazon Alexa can now learn skills on command

by Todd Haselton | June 28, 2016June 28, 2016 1:00 pm PDT

Amazon Alexa, the smart assistant at the heart of the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Fire TV, is now more powerful than ever. Amazon said Tuesday that she can now learn skills on command, instead of requiring users to hunt for a specific third-party skill inside of the Amazon Alexa app.

A user, for example, can now speak to the Alexa to enable specific third-party skills, like Spotify integration or support for NBC news. One example provided by the company was “Alexa, enable NBC news,” but this phrase could be used for any of Alexa’s skills.

“Alexa, enable Stupid Musician Jokes,” is a phrase you might want to use if you want to pull up Alexa for stupid jokes about musicians. Or, if you want information about the PGA Tour, you might say “Enable Golf Shot Live.” In some of these cases, like that last example, you’ll need to know the name of the specific skill you’re looking for.

There are now more than 1,400 skills to choose from, ranging from playing back NPR to relaying the weather or reading back a book, and Amazon said that the number of skills increased by 50 percent in a single month, which means developers are eager to support the platform.

Amazon

Todd Haselton

Todd Haselton has been writing professionally since 2006 during his undergraduate days at Lehigh University. He started out as an intern with...

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