Amazon debuts a more accessible way to publish custom Alexa Skills, no coding required

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Amazon Alexa Blueprints

One of Alexa’s biggest strengths is its ever-growing number of user-created Skills. With over 80,000 as of publishing, the assistant’s capabilities are about as far-reaching as can be. But that’s not stopping Amazon from kickstarting a new initiative to bolster even more. Today the technology giant is launching new Alexa Skills Blueprints; a way to make it easier for creators and organizations who may not have backgrounds in coding to integrate their content into the voice assistant. Head below for more.

Traditionally, connecting your service with Amazon’s voice assistant required toying around with the company’s APIs. But for those who may not even know what an API is, Amazon is building out a new platform to get you in on the action. The latest Alexa-enhancement is focusing on supplementing the assistant’s Flash Briefing capabilities. As such, the upgrade is being aimed at content creators, bloggers and other similarly-affiliated organizations.

This new platform offers a variety of templates, called Alexa Skill Blueprints, for users to customize. These range from more simplistic ones meant to package an audio stream, to trivia games and more complex implementations. You’ll also be able to publish the custom responses to Alexa’s public repository of Skills, but not without some supervision from Amazon.

Skill Blueprint use cases

Amazon has highlighted a few different ways that its new Alexa Skill Blueprints can be leveraged. With audio distribution being a focal point, universities will be able publish lectures alongside spiritual talks from other secular organizations.

WordPress bloggers will also be able to have their posts read aloud by Alexa via Amazon’s A.I Plugin. Other notable use cases include local sports teams broadcasting their games’ coverage, tutors being able to make custom flashcards for students, and more.

These new Skills will undergo a similar level of scrutiny that previously-released ones went through. Meaning Amazon isn’t just opening the flood gates an endless sea of non-curated user-created content. Which in all honesty, is probably for the best. After all, Amazon wouldn’t want Alexa to start spouting explicit content.

Having Alexa play a bigger role in the way that users receive their news seems to be a big play right now for Amazon. The company just recently trained Alexa to do its best newscaster impersonation when reading out the news as a way to make it seem more personal. But today’s Alexa Skill Blueprints upgrade tackles another issue – bringing more of the content you love into the mix.

9to5Toys’ Take

At the end of the day, this adds up to a big win for Amazon. Alexa is already entering just about all of the different facets of everyday life you can think of. The smart speaker-packed assistant isn’t just for tech fanatics anymore, so why should creating skills for it be limited to that population? Regardless of if previously-excluded content creators will flock in droves to Alexa, it’s great to see Amazon emphasize accessibility with Alexa Skill Blueprints.

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