Amazon’s Alexa personal assistant will soon be able to launch and control features within iOS and Android apps, the company has revealed.
In a move that will bring more competition to Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant on their own turf, Amazon has revealed new developer tools that will allow them to connect Alexa skills to mobile apps.
For example, TikTok users can commence a recording from within the app by saying “Alexa, tell TikTok to start my recording” or to perform a search within the app by saying “Alexa, search for eyeliner tutorials.”
You can see some examples in the video below (beware: TikTokers):
As well as TikTok, Amazon has been testing the new functionality with companies like Twitter, Uber, Yellow Pages and Sonic – a fast food chain in the US.
App users will also be able to use Alexa to discover more information within the app. For example, “after a customer books a ride with the Uber skill, Alexa will ask the customer if they want to see the driver’s location on a map in the app,” Amazon says in a blog post.
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Alexa says any activity that can be opened by a deep link within the app is compatible with the new Alexa for Apps platform which makes searching within an app much easier.
Amazon added: “Now, when [users] ask, “Alexa, ask Twitter to search for #Alexalive,” the skill will also open the Twitter app on their mobile device and display a list of results that customers can browse. Similarly, customers can ask the Yellow Pages skill to show them nearby plumbers, gas stations, or restaurants which then display in the Yellow Pages app.”
Amazon is offering early access for developers on an application basis right now. Potentially, it could be handy for users, but more work for developers to integrate another voice assistant alongside Siri and the Google Assistant.