Amazon hopes to compete with Siri, Google Assistant, and Bixby by introducing a new feature on smartphones: the ability to launch and control third-party apps on users’ devices.
The ecommerce giant has been working hard to make Alexa the number-one smart assistant, and as competition heats up from rival firms, the company is taking its next leap to cement Alexa’s position.
Called Alexa for Apps, the new feature has launched as an early beta preview for a small number of developers, who can begin to prepare their apps for it.
Speaking in a blog post, Amazon said that it wanted Alexa to do more than just open apps on Android and iOS, and introduce complex commands. On Facebook, for example, a user could ask Alexa to open the Facebook app and navigate to the AppleMagazine page.
“Alexa for Apps makes searching inside an app quickly and easily,” Amazon said.
“For example, customers could previously ask the Twitter skill for trends, mentions, and more, and hear a voice response. Now, when they 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.”
“Finally, with Alexa for Apps, customers can trigger any functionality you select within your app by using their voice. For instance, the Tik Tok skill lets customers start recording with their voice. This is especially useful when a customer’s hands are busy.”
Thanks to a Siri command, it’s possible to issue commands to Alexa as if it was your default assistant. This latest announcement is the next step in making Alexa a genuine competitor outside of smart speakers, allowing Amazon to further infiltrate our everyday lives.
What are your thoughts on Alexa coming to iOS? Do you think this will spur Apple to work harder to make Siri smarter? Let us know your thoughts and check back soon for more.