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📰 News and Stories

Make Money with Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills (Now Generally Available in Europe): Alexa offers a new channel for brands and merchants who want to sell their products and services through their Alexa skills. Today, we are excited to announce Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills is now generally available to UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and France based merchants and developers. With Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills, you can use Amazon’s simple voice purchasing flow to sell goods or services (like event tickets, transportation, flower deliveries, and more). You can now leverage Amazon Pay to earn money with your Alexa skill.

BMW integrates Alexa and Cortana, Maintains Control Over the User Experience: BMW’s recent integration of Alexa and Cortana into their Connnected Car Vision has been called “A model for modern tech partnerships” by Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella. This was mentioned in the opening of Microsoft’s annual Ignite conference this week, when Nadella stated "/BMW is/ not letting anybody else just disintermediate them. That’s really I think strategy at work. They’re going to allow access to Skype. They’re going to allow access to Cortana. They’re going to allow access to Alexa. But, it’s all going to be under the terms of their brand experience. That to me is how every consumer brand needs to be thinking going forward to remain relevant".

Whisper to Alexa, and She’ll Whisper Back: We would like Alexa to react to conversational cues in just such a natural, intuitive way, and toward that end, Amazon last week announced Alexa’s new whisper mode, which will let Alexa-enabled devices respond to whispered speech by whispering back. The science behind is explained in this article.

Now You Can Sell Consumables to Enrich Your Voice Experience and Make Money with Alexa Skills: A consumable is an in-skill product that customers can purchase, use, and then purchase again. In addition to one-time purchases and subscriptions, consumables give developers more ways to deliver premium experiences to customers. With consumables, you can sell products that are relevant in the moment to customers as they experience your skill. For example, consider a trivia skill that offers customers a pack of hints. If a customer gets stuck on a question, rather than get the question wrong, they can purchase and use hints to keep the round going. When they run out of hints, they have the option to purchase again.

RUMOR: Facebook to Debut Portal Video Chat Device: After delaying its unveiling for several months, Facebook is set to announce its Portal video chat device next week. Cheddar senior reporter Alex Heath discusses the main features and what was behind the delay.

📓 Tutorials and Opinions

Making Alexa Skills More Discoverable: Alexa Technologies That Bring Skills and Customers Together: How Shortlister and HypRank work together to "guess" what skill should be invoked, when a user just says "Alexa, how do I remove a rust stain". A recent discussion with industry vets and voice-first enthusiasts inspired Paul Cutsinger to write this post on the Alexa technologies that help people find engaging skills. This includes the technologies that support finding, launching, and re-engaging with skills in natural ways and how you can use them to make your skill more discoverable.

How To Create Trivia Game Alexa Skill / Google Action using BotTalk Templates: In this video tutorial you will learn how to literally write your voice applications with simple markupl language. Just like webpages.

📆 Upcoming Events

Smart Voice Conference 2018 (November 13, 2018 - Cologne, Germany): Great speakers, insightful topics. Definetly a must-go, if you're looking into making your next move in voice.