Amazon Alexa skills can now work together
Amazon has announced that certain Alexa skills now play nicely together, in what looks to be a positive sign of the retailer focusing on offering a more complete, connected experience in the home.
It may be slightly limited in practice for now, but skills collaborating with each other finally becoming a reality indicates an increasingly holistic approach from Amazon (rather-than-buy-a-Dot-and-stick-it-here), which can only be a positive thing for home technology adoption going forward.
Amazon is working on a way to connect skills so that the assistant can perform multiple related tasks without the user having to repeat themselves. Other people (ahem, Josh.ai) have been offering this ability for a while now I hear you cry – but for all its ecosystem's faults, Amazon’s products are in the mainstream so it’s nonetheless an important development.
The feature only currently works with two tasks Alexa is commonly called upon for: printing and making bookings. These may not be the most exciting developments, yet Amazon has just started previewing this will developers so more is expected to come.
Called “feature skill connections”, it will essentially work by connecting different information Alexa is aware of (i.e. you have a booking at x restaurant for Saturday night) and make relevant suggestions to try and make your life easier (e.g. offering to book you a taxi there – meaning you don’t have to open up the taxi skill and give an extra instruction to Alexa).
Allrecipes is already working with a printing skill to allow owners of Alexa devices to print recipes without starting a separate conversation.
OpenTable, Uber and HP printers are signed up for now, with Epson and Canon printing skills coming soon.
Developers interested in helping Amazon grow its feature skill connections can apply online.