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📰 News and Stories

Make money from your Actions, create better user experiences: Google has introduced digital goods in their Actions (Amazon introduced consumables for Alexa skills last week), bundling it up with the Google Sign-In for the Assistant, which is aimed to simplify account linking and to reduce user drop off. Additionally the major makeover of the Assistant App for phones gone live, supporting Google's strategy to go with both voice and touch. The rich media responses now have the better lists and visual cards now - including full screen mode. More on practical implementation details - in our Tutorials and Opinions section below.

Skill Connections (Preview): Now Skills Can Work Together to Help Customers Get More Done: One of the most annoying things about Skills - every skill lives in its own silo. There was no way to simply jump from one skill to the other. But that changed - Amazon is introducing Connections. And granted, at the moment there are a very limited set of options: Print (HP printers supported), Book a Table (OpenTable is supported) and call a cab (Uber is supported) - this is the huge step in the right direction. We all know what happened when deep links were first introduced in Apps.To be eligible to use the Connections Skill developers should fill in this form.

Google Assistant now helps you compare ride-hailing prices and summon a car: It's hard not to place this one just right after the previous announcement. Since it also has to do with one of the use cases Amazon attacked... cabs. Google is rolling out a new way of booking rides with your voice — or at least getting most of the way there. Starting this week, you’ll be able to say “Hey Google, book a ride to” or “Hey Google, get me a taxi to” your destination. Previously, Assistant would kick you over to Google Maps for this info, as it already lists these price estimates for the services. Now it’s basically just surfacing that same information right in the Assistant window.

Nielsen Launches New MediaTech Trender Survey to Uncover Consumer Sentiment on Emerging Technologies: Two interesting points for us: In the second quarter of 2018, household ownership of smart speakers reached 24%, up from 22% in the previous quarter. Of those who have a smart speaker, four out of 10 have more than one. How much people using mobile phones can say the same? Something to think about...

📓 Tutorials and Opinions

Four tips for building great transactional experiences for the Google Assistant: It's all about reducing friction and providing seamless dialog flow (pun intended). What Michail is suggesting in this tutorial: 1) use Google-Sign In instead of custom account linking 2) introduce re-order to simplify the common transaction use cases in your Action 3) use Google Pay both for simplicity and since (Android) users trust this payment method 4) focus on voice-only (voice-first) approach - despite of the reach media responses that Google provides, your action should also have "screen-less" devices in mind. So do follow the Conversation Design Guidelines.

New Alexa Skills Training Course: Designing for Conversation: Amazing tutorial directly from Amazon - building a real skill from ground-up, covering all the basics and beyond: validate if your idea is really the best idea to be done in voice, why scripts (AND NOT THE FLOWCHARTS) are the most effective way to design for conversation (we at https://bottalk.de are so happy to hear our strategy to create a platform for content creators using scripting gets confirmed), how to handle unexpected user input gracefully, what you can do with multi-turn conversation using dialog management etc. This course is a MUST for every voice professional!

📆 Upcoming Events

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