There are more than 30,000 Alexa skills available, and they all have one thing in common: They weren't made by you. Amazon's Skill Blueprints looks to change that. Amazon says the newly announced Skill Blueprints will make skill creation more accessible, by offering customers customizable templates they can use to make their own skills for the voice-powered Alexa assistant. Starting today (April 19), Amazon is making available 20 skill blueprints across several categories: Home, Fun & Games, Storyteller, and Learning & Knowledge. Using those templates, Alexa users will be able to create a skill for their corniest jokes, a trivia game, or an interactive story, to name three examples.
Amazon has introduced a series of no-code, fill-in-blank templates that let anyone build Alexa skills specifically for their personal Amazon account. Alexa is the brain of Amazon's Echo and digital assistant efforts, and the Alexa skills are voice-activated apps, usually built by third-party developers, that allow Alexa to deliver additional services and features. With the the new Alexa Skill Blueprints, Amazon is giving the average layperson the option to program basic Alexa skills, like answering the question, "Who is the best mom ever?" Or for the slightly more advanced, an interactive adventure story that's personalized to your child. There are currently 20 skill blueprints across four categories, including Fun & Games, At Home, Storyteller, and Learning & Knowledge.
Use the new Skill Blueprints to make Alexa do cool new tricks. Amazon's virtual voice assistant just got a whole lot smarter. With the arrival of Skill Blueprints, Alexa can now perform a variety of personalized tricks -- "skills," as Amazon calls them, that are personalized to you and your family. For example, is someone studying for a test? With the Flashcards Blueprint, you can set up a customized set of questions -- and answers, natch -- and Alexa will deliver a voice-powered quiz.
Amazon is working on a way to connect various Alexa skills so that the assistant can perform multiple related tasks without the user having to repeat themselves. The company is calling the feature skill connections, and Amazon is previewing it with developers now. Here's how Amazon says skill connections could work. Say you use Alexa to buy some concert tickets at the last minute. With skill connections, the skill you used to buy the tickets could then offer to book you a taxi ride to the event, and it could just past the location information off to the taxi-booking skill for you rather than you having to look up the address, invoke the taxi skill and repeat the address yourself.
Amazon's Alexa devices can be a lot of fun, but her answers aren't always the ones you'd like to hear. Now you can easily create your own personal Alexa skills with one of more than 20 pre-made Blueprints, swapping in your own content for Amazon's. It's always been possible to write custom Alexa skills, but that involved computer programming or learning some sort of third-party tool. With Blueprints, that barrier is gone for anyone interested in creating private skills available just for devices registered to their own account. Categories include Fun & Games, Learning & Knowledge, At Home, and Storyteller.