Amazon’s Alexa is arguably one of the more capable virtual assistants out there. Sure, it may not be part of as many phones as the Google Assistant or even Siri, however, it has a few fantastic homes in Amazon’s range of household speakers — including the tap, dot and echo. More importantly though, the developer community appears to have taken to it with gusto and the virtual assistant now has 10,000 skills to offer.
In case you are wondering, skills are to Alexa what a new ability would be to Google Assistant. Apple has yet to put its Siri virtual assistant inside a speaker, so we will leave it out of the discussion for now. Alexa had less than 150 skills available on it in last January. However, a push by Amazon, that involved getting more developers on-board, launching the Alexa Prize to give university students a chance to build conversational AI bots, partnering with smart device OEMs, car makers etc. saw the number grow until it reached last November.
So it took the voice assistant over 10 months to learn its first 5,000 skills. In comparison, the AI managed to learn the next 5,000 in less than 3 months. Sweet, right? At this pace, we can expect Alexa to become one of the most capable AIs out there soon. Amazon says that tens of thousands of developers are currently working upon creating new capabilities for Alexa.
However, like any service in its early days, Alexa has it fair share of troubole and not all of its skills are perfect. In fact, according to a 2017 Voice Report from VoiceLab. merely 3 percent of Alexa skills (would Alexian be a word someday?) get repeat visitors.
Meanwhile, here is a list of the top 10 Alexa skills currently available in the marketplace.
- Ditty (This is actually pretty cool, just speak some words and watch Alexa create a song out of it)
- Short Bedtime Story (Can tell your kids short stories, can speak their name too!)
- This Day in History (A daily history lesson)
- Jeopardy! J6 (Daily quiz)
- Inspire Me (Yup, inspirational quotes and upbeat, inspirational background music)
- Ambient thunderstorm (You get some ambient sound for when you don’t want to listen to the voices inside your head)
- Twenty Questions (Think about an animal, plant, or object, and have Akexa guess its exact name in 20 questions or less.)
- Curiosity (Shares cool stuff about cool things happening around the globe)
Knock your self out fellows!
A bibliophile and a business enthusiast.