Amazon is working on something called "Alexa for Apps," a new feature that will better integrate the company's smart digital assistant with the apps on your phone via voice commands. And we don't just mean asking Alexa to start an app, we mean further passing details from your question or command to the app itself.
If this sounds familiar, it's because the Google Assistant already has this sort of functionality. The Actions on Google platform offers deeper integration into third-party apps and services. Just last year, it picked up pretty much this exact feature, letting you tell the Assistant to launch and hand commands to third-party apps, with launch partners like Nike. Amazon is playing catch-up.
It's important to note, though, that the Google Assistant can leverage this sort of stuff partially because of Google's position as the gatekeeper to Android apps, ensuring that the Assistant is present on pretty much every Android phone out there, and with the deep system integration that features like this depend on. When it comes to the Android phone in your hand, Amazon has to do it as a third-party entrant with no special status outside any other app, and with less weight behind outside the general Alexa ecosystem to encourage apps to take advantage of it.
The Verge reports that this new Alexa for Apps feature is launching today as a preview for select developers, so odds are it will be a bit longer before you see any big changes in functionality on your own phone.
- The Verge