Amazon announces several features, tools for developers to boost Alexa

The retailer said the features will make it easier for developers to personalise experiences and monetise opportunities to drive growth.

Amazon has announced numerous features and tools for developers at the third annual Alexa Live developer conference as it plans to boost its voice platform.

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The retailer said the features will make it easier for developers to personalise experiences and monetise opportunities to drive growth.

Amazon customers are used to voice-based interactions with the Echo line of devices, and now they will be able to use widgets to access content from their device’s home screen. The widgets can be customised, updated, and be used to quickly “check an item off a list” or tap a widget to see the content of a skill.

Besides, developers will be able to promote their skills in the home screen rotation using pre-defined discovery cards. Skills are like apps for Alexa that allow customers to engage with a developer’s content or services with voice.

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Amazon also noted that it is expanding in-skill purchasing capabilities to India and Canada later this year.

Developers can also sell products from the company’s online portal in their skill using a new feature that works with one of Amazon’s affiliate marketing programmes, enabling developers to recommend products within their skill and earn a commission of up to 10% on qualifying product referrals, the company said in a blog post.

The list of features also includes application programming interfaces (APIs) for food skills that can be used to build food delivery and pickup experiences; as well as specific triggers and suggestions to create dynamic experiences for customers at home and on the go.

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When a customer is heading out for work, they could opt in to have a skill proactively suggest that they lock their home, or when they start their morning run, a skill could suggest a playlist to listen to, Amazon explained.

Moreover, customers will be able to customise routines to straightaway access what they love about a skill with Alexa routines. For instance, if a customer creates a routine like “Alexa, what’s happening today?”, they can promptly access quotes, business news, or market updates inside their preferred news skill.

Some skill experiences can be built to start on an Alexa-enabled device and continued on a customer’s mobile device with the help of a new feature. Amazon also introduced APIs that allow developers to build skills to help customers find important things they have misplaced such as keys, wallets, headphones, remotes, and even pets. They can just say ‘Alexa, find my’ or ‘Alexa, ring my’ to locate tracked items.

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According to the e-commerce firm, there are over 9 lakh registered Alexa developers who have built over 1.3 lakh Alexa skills, hundreds of Alexa Built-in products across categories like PC’s, wearables, smart home devices, and cars, and over 1.4 lakh smart home products that can be controlled with Alexa.

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