Amazon has rolled out a new tool for further enhancing the already strong repertoire of its intelligent voice assistant Alexa. Called "Alexa Blueprints", the tool lets any Alexa user create their own customized Alexa skills or responses. And no, you don't need to learn any coding for that. It's all that simple. Look.
With Alexa Blueprints, programming Alexa is as easy as filling in a Facebook account opening form. Amazon is providing users with a set of simple templates that help in creating personalised experiences for Alexa. All you need is to simply fill in the blanks, and it hardly takes a few minutes. For instance, you can make Alexa respond with your Mom's name when you ask her “Who’s the best mom in the world?" You can also create your own voice apps, like a trivia game or bedtime stories, with your own personalized characters.
To build your own skill or custom Alexa response, visit the website blueprints.amazon.com and log in with the Amazon account you use for Alexa. Once you’re logged in, you’ll be presented with 21 templates across categories like Fun & Games, At Home, Storyteller, and Learning and Knowledge. Just pick your template and fill in the blanks as per your wish to make Alexa respond accordingly. The templates also come pre-filled if you just want to try them out before making your own. Amazon is expected to add more templates very soon.
After you’ve finished filling your own content, give a name to the skill and hit the “create skill” button to publish it. The skills and responses you just created will be available instantly on the devices associated with your account. It will, however, will not be available to the public or in the Alexa Skills Store. You can still edit the responses from the website even after you publish it.
Alexa Blueprints tool is only available for customers in the US at the moment. Though there's no news on when it will be available in other markets, you can still access create customized Alexa skills by switching the language setting to English (US).
It is quite obvious that most of us would just use Alexa Blueprints to say weird stuff for quick viral fame. But Amazon does envision more practical uses for the custom skills as well. The Houseguest template, for instance, will be of a great use for guests in the house. You can leave easily accessible information about where to find things in the house, or the Wi-Fi password, with Alexa for a less hassled stay for the guests.
There are also a few other templates with more practical uses. Students could use the flash cards custom skill while studying, while a group of friends or roommates could design their own trivia games.