Smart phones, smart cars, smart watches and what not! We live in a world where it’s all about getting smart. So today Amazon announces the upgrade of Alexa and now Alexa will help you buy millions of products from Amazon. Before you get into details, let’s have a look at the past.
Almost a year earlier, Amazon launched it’s super cool virtual assistant device Amazon Echo. Many people wondered how different it’s going to be from one of those virtual assistants we have on our iPhones or Androids. Now after a year, many customers who use Echo claims it has so far been an excellent thing. The first and foremost thing it did is, it changed people perception in virtual assistants.
The cloud inside Echo called Alexa is on a progressive timeline and has updated many a time in past year with more and more new, exciting features. Alexa is capable of playing music. It can play the news. Alexa is also compliant with a lot of smart home appliances. For instance, it works amazingly with my Philips Hue smart light bulbs. That’s not it! Alexa supports a lot of devices like a smart thermostat. It has the potential of being your smart home hub.
Over the year since its launch Amazon has been continuously adding new skills to Alexa, It now owns more than 500 skills. Alexa can order you a ride from Uber as well as can become your personal pizza ordered at Dominos. Well, there are many other cool things that Alexa can do.
This marks a long way in the virtual assistance space. Looking at Alexa’s performance, Google has recently confirmed the release of it’s new virtual assistant Google Home sometime next year.
With that, Amazon decided to up its game and launched a new update to Alexa. With the latest update, you could order 10 million items from Amazon website just by asking Alexa to do it.
Just tell your echo what do you want, a TV or another Echo maybe.
Alexa previously had limitations of only reordering stuff that someone has purchased before or recommending company-selected electronics like laptops and printers through the service called Amazon’s Choice. All the items that you buy through Alexa now must have the eligibility for Prime, Amazon’s membership service with two-day shipping.
At the moment Amazon developer team are constantly working towards adding more and more products to the list. However at the moment, things you cannot purchase through Alexa, include Amazon Fresh, Amazon Prime Pantry, apparel, shoes, jewelry, watches, Amazon Prime Now and add-on items.
Upon asking if Alexa will be able to order these products outside of Prime, “We’re adding more products every day into that Prime product wheelhouse,” one spokeswoman said. “We really want to see how customers are using it and get their feedback on how it can be improved. We’ll continue to figure out expansion as time goes on.”
But at the moment the speech engineers at Amazon has put in a lot of effort to enable Alexa to understand names of multiple brands etc. This move by Amazon to expand Alexa’s shopping skill set may be the company could be usurping the Dash button, these are physical buttons that are meant to be placed around a home to buy specific items. However, they introduced a bunch of new Dash buttons earlier this week.
We hope Alexa gets better with time and also gets more skills to improve the overall experience. But the competition for Amazon to be on the top of the game would be more and more challenging with the launch of Google Home. Well, if the rumors are right, Apple is also trying to update Siri and launch a mobile free version of it.