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📰 News and Stories

Skype Calling Now Available with Alexa: Microsoft and Amazon have partnered to bring Skype calling to Alexa. Beginning this week, Skype’s basic calling will be available exclusively on Amazon’s devices with Alexa. The Echo Show will include video calling support for Skype. Users will also be able to use SkypeOut to call mobile and landline phones from Echo devices. In order to use the feature, users need to link their Microsoft account and say: Alexa, call Tom on Skype. Alexa, pick up.

“Hey Siri, Hey Google” – Access Google Assistant with Siri Shortcuts: The latest version of Google Assistant for iOS supports Apple’s Shortcuts app. The Shortcuts app allows users to program a list of tasks to perform using a spoken phrase with Siri, or a shortcut that can be added to a home screen. The Shortcuts app now allows users to open Google Assistant with a personalized phrase.

Alexa Presentation Language Skill Certification Starts Today: Amazon has successfully completed the device software update referenced in the Alexa Presentation Language (APL) public beta announcement. First, you can now expect your APL skills to render properly when tested on your Echo Show, Echo Spot, and Fire TV. Second, Amazon is now certifying and publishing APL skills for your customers to experience on multimodal devices. Submit your APL skill today to start the certification process. If you have already submitted your APL skill, no further action is required at this point. You can expect a certification update soon.

📓 Tutorials and Opinions

Varying Speaking Styles with Neural Text-to-Speech: When people speak, they use different speaking styles depending on context. A TV newscaster, for example, will use a very different style when conveying the day’s headlines than a parent will when reading a bedtime story. Amazon scientists have shown that our latest text-to-speech (TTS) system, which uses a generative neural network, can learn to employ a newscaster style from just a few hours of training data. This advance paves the way for Alexa and other services to adopt different speaking styles in different contexts, improving customer experiences.

Creating Alexa Skill and Google Action from Google Spreadsheets:
In this video tutoril you will learn how to turn any Google Spreadsheet into the Facts Skill and/or Google Action!

📆 Upcoming Events

Live from AWS re:Invent: Experience Alexa on Twitch