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📰 News and Stories

With In-Skill Purchasing, Gal Shenar Sets His Growing Voice Business Up for Long-Term Success - With over 30 published skills and 200,000 active monthly users, there’s no doubt Gal Shenar has cracked the code for building highly engaging Alexa skills. When Amazon introduced in-skill purchasing, Shenar saw even greater opportunity to monetize his skills. Great article expaining how to enahnce the voice-first gaming experience and intricacies of offering premium content, but avoiding "hard sell". It's all comes down to user satisfaction and user experience.

Introducing the Newest Alexa Champions - Today, we are excited to introduce 12 new developers to the Alexa Champions program, which is a recognition program that honors the most engaged developers and contributors to the Alexa community. Meet the Newest Alexa Champions: Adva Levin, Heather Luna, Hidetaka Okamoto, Jess Williams, John Gillilan, Kesha Williams, Liam Sorta, Ralf Eggert, Tim Kahle, Tom Hewitson, Tomoharu Ito, Travis Teague.

How we designed it: the Google I/O ’18 Action for the Google Assistant - Making the most of an event like Google I/O is a challenge, whether you’re attending in person, joining an extended viewing party, or watching from home. We, the Actions on Google team, saw this as an opportunity to provide an assistive experience for event-goers and watchers alike. Like we did last year, the team wanted to build an Action for the Google Assistant that would make Google I/O ’18 easier for everyone. In this post, we highlight our design process for the Google I/O ’18 Action, including some of the key challenges we faced and decisions we made. In a following post, we’ll detail the technical implementation of the proposed design.

BotTalk New Release - Code Name SU-21: Here are some of the features: HEAR your Alexa Skill / Google Action in browser - without deploying, TDD (Test-Driven Development) support, new built-in slot types and conditional steps.

Announcing Optional Account Linking: Customers Can Now Use Your Alexa Skill without Linking Accounts - For skills that use account linking, you can now take advantage of optional account linking, so that customers can simply enable your skill and start engaging with the parts of your skill that do not need authentication. And when a customer makes a request that does need authentication, you can then prompt them to link their account by adding the account linking card to their Alexa app.

Google Assistant Takes Lead in Understanding Speakers with Accents - Speech recognition testing lab Vocalize.ai evaluated the ability of Amazon Alexa, Apple Siri and Google Assistant operating within smart speakers to correctly recognize accented speech by fluent English speakers from the U.S., India and China. Google Assistant performed significantly better than both Alexa and Siri in three performance tests.

Anatomy of an AI System - The Amazon Echo as an anatomical map of human labor, data and planetary resources.

📓 Tutorials and Opinions

Sample Dialogs: The Key to Creating Great Actions on Google - Hi all! I'm Cathy Pearl, head of conversation design outreach at Google. I've been building conversational systems for a while now, starting with IVRs (phone systems) and moving on to multi-modal experiences. I'm also the author of the O'Reilly book Designing Voice User Interfaces. These days, I'm keen to introduce designers and developers to our conversation design best practices so that Actions will provide the best possible user experience. Today, I'll be talking about a fundamental first step when thinking about creating an Action: writing sample dialogs.

How to Test Your In-Skill Products for a Great Customer Experience: 10 Test Cases - With in-skill purchasing (ISP) now available in Alexa skills, you can sell premium content to enrich your voice experience. You can sell in-skill products as one-time purchases that unlock access to premium content or you can sell subscriptions that offer access to premium content for a period of time. No matter which in-skill product you build, it’s important to create a seamless customer experience and test your ISP to reduce friction in the certification process.

Voice UX Best Practices eBook – Over 100 Insights from 17 Experts - Voicebot published in the Voice UX Best Practices eBook. Developed in conjunction with Applause, the eBook extracted insights from many of the 60+ Voicebot Podcast interviews with voice designers, developers, solution provides, practitioners and visionaries.

📆 Upcoming Events

Voice Conference (December 5 – 7, 2018, Berlin) - Successfully design and develop Voice Assistants and Chatbots.