As digital voice assistants like Google Home and Apple HomePod make their way towards becoming household fixtures, Amazon has introduced a new way for Alexa users to swiftly create their own customized responses and skills.
Launching today in the US, Alexa Skill Blueprints provides free online templates that let consumers build their own trivia games, make personalized stories, create house-sitter instructions and enable custom responses to questions.
The 20-plus Skill Blueprints currently available are only accessible on individual devices—in other words, they’re not meant for wide use—and are created on the Blueprints website. The platform’s Fun & Games section, for example, includes family jokes, trivia, a list of inspirational quotes and custom compliments. The Storyteller section has adventure, fairytale, sci-fi and fable templates, while the Learning & Knowledge category includes customized flash cards, facts and quizzes.
The democratization of its popular skills feature undoubtedly gives Amazon a leg up in the competitive voice-assistant market. According to market research firm The NPD Group, voice assistant ownership among US internet-enabled households currently sits at 15%, and that number is expected to grow by a whopping 50% in the next year.
Amazon launched its first Alexa skills for kids last summer, with Nickelodeon, Sesame Workshop and Amazon Prime characters marking the occasion. Amazon has since partnered with Hasbro on an Amazon Echo Buttons game entitled Trivial Pursuit Tap.