Amazon Echo's Alexa voice-based virtual assistant will soon start speaking with third-party apps and devices. The company recently opened Alexa's APIs to developers and is now providing them with a preview of the Alexa Voice Service. This is a big move as it not only let the developers bring the support for Alexa into their own apps, but also let them take Alexa voice technology and add it to their own hardware.
The Alexa Voice Service is now available in developer preview, and will help developers integrate Alexa into their own software as well as their device, while Amazon assures that it's a straightforward process that won't require more than a few hours of time. Furthermore, it will only require a handful of code to get started.
As part of the software development kit, the company is also offering Alexa Skill Set, a set of features that will let developers add additional voice commands and support to the service.
The Amazon Echo speaker, which features Alexa as its cloud-based voice-recognition brains, has been lauded with praising reviews. But the lack of integration was a big downer. So far, Amazon had only allowed a bunch of IFTTT recipes to work in conjunction with the Echo. By opening its APIs to developers, the company is taking a huge step forward.
The move can help Alexa become even more useful and find itself in a much better competing against Google's Now, Apple's Siri, and Microsoft's Cortana voice-based virtual assistants. It also signifies that Amazon wants Alexa technology everywhere.
On its developer portal, Amazon writes, "The free Alexa Voice Service (AVS), the same service that powers Amazon Echo, is now available in developer preview to hobbyists and hardware makers who want to integrate Alexa into their connected devices. AVS enables your customers to speak to Alexa through the microphone on your device and Alexa will respond through the device's speakers. With the developer preview, you get access to a collection of self-service tools, documentation, and APIs and code samples to enhance your device and delight your customers with new voice experiences. Alexa includes access to information, music, audiobooks, news, weather, traffic and more, including any custom skills you create using the Alexa Skills Kit to differentiate your device."