Amazon launched the Alexa Skills Kit, Alexa Voice Service and the Alexa Fund in June of last year, and as something of an anniversary celebration on Tuesday (June 28) the company unveiled new Alexa features and announced that they have added Lyft and Honeywell to the 1,400 available Alexa skills.
Amazon announced that it now lets users enable an Alexa skill using just their voice. For example, a user could say “Alexa, enable Lyft” or “Alexa enable Honeywell.”
Alexa is the voice service that powers Amazon Echo and provides “capabilities, or skills, that enable customers to interact with devices in a more intuitive way using voice,” according to Amazon. Alexa can be used to play music, set an alarm timer, develop a workout playlist or answer a user’s general questions like “Alexa, what time are the Fourth of July fireworks?”
Amazon says that since opening Alexa to developers last year, “tens of thousands” are now currently developing Alexa skills and Alexa-enabled products and its catalog of Alexa skills has now grown to more than 1,400 in just over a month. Alexa skills have also increased five times since January of 2016, Amazon noted.
“We are thrilled that tens of thousands of developers are already building skills for Alexa, helping to grow our Alexa skill selection by 50 percent in just over a month. And today, we’re excited to introduce new features that make it even easier for customers to discover those skills,” said Steve Rabuchin, Vice President of Amazon Alexa. “This is a win for developers and for customers, and we can’t wait to hear what they think.”
Amazon also announced Tuesday that it has “completely redesigned” the Alexa app and that it now allows users to search Alexa skills by categories, such as “Smart Home,” and new search features also let users access their previously enabled skills via the “Your Skills” section.