Amazon Echo devices and the Alexa skills store made their debut in India on 31st October 2017. Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot are voice-controlled speakers designed entirely around your voice—they are always ready, hands-free, and fast.
Amazon also introduced the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK), a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation and code samples, enabling developers around the world to build voice experiences for Alexa customers in India. At launch, Indian users could enjoy close to 11,000 skills offered by global and Indian developers. These include Ted Talks, Saavn, ESPNcricinfo, Ola, Tarla Dalal, Zomato, Freshmenu, Goibibo, and Housejoy among others.
In less than 60 days of the Alexa India skill store going live, Amazon has added more than 1,000 new skills to the store. Thanks to the efforts of thousands of creative developers who have built interactive Alexa skills. These new skills bring the total number of skills available for Indian customers to more than 12,000. The Alexa service is always getting smarter, be it features and skills, or natural language understanding and accuracy. Because Alexa’s brains are in the AWS cloud, she continually learns and adds more functionality, every hour, every day.
Personalize your Echo experience with skills
Echo devices connect to Alexa-a cloud-based voice service-to play music, set alarms and timers, provide information, check your calendar, weather, sports scores, manage to-do and shopping lists, control smart home devices, and more – instantly. These experiences are made possible with Skills, that add new capabilities that create a more personalised experience with your Amazon Echo device.
To find a skill and enable, go to the skills section in the Alexa app browse for skills and then click enable. If you know the skill name, then you can just ask Alexa to enable the skill. To enable Ola, just say “Alexa, enable Ola.” The Alexa companion app can be downloaded from Google Play and Apple App Store. You can also access Alexa Skills store on https://alexa.amazon.in/ from your desktop browser.
The new skills published span 20 categories, including global favorites like Music & Audio, interactive games and education, to trending categories like Health, Business & Finance, and News and Lifestyle. Here is a list of most popular skills in each category:
- Music & Audio: Ambient Sounds – Ocean Sounds
- Interactive games: Rock Paper Scissors, The Magic Door
- Education: Merriam-Webster Word of the Day
- Health: Help me sleep
- Business: ET Markets Financial News
- Lifestyle: Hanuman Chalisa, Ganesha Speaks, Inspire Me
Many developers published skills with an Indian flavor, enabling customers to listen to devotional songs like Hanuman Chalisa and Gayatri Mantra, find diverse information ranging from Indian pin codes, Indian presidents to Indian Railways PNR status, or playing Indian Tambola, Mahabharatha quiz, and Indian GK Quiz. Just say:
- “Alexa, enable Hanuman Chalisa”
- “Alexa, start Gayatri Mantra”
- “Alexa, enable pin code of India”
- “Alexa, open Mahabharata Quiz”
- “Alexa, open G K India Quiz”
Developing skills for Alexa
Through ASK, developers, companies, and hobbyists can integrate Alexa into their products and services, and build new skills for Alexa. You don’t need to have a background in natural language understanding or speech recognition to build great voice experiences for your products with Alexa.
To accelerate the expansion of the Alexa India skill set, the Alexa team hosted an interactive design workshop ‘Alexa Dev Days’ in Delhi and Bangalore. These events had the largest ever attendance across all the ‘Alexa Dev Days’ held worldwide by Amazon, showing that developers in India are excited to be a part of the future of voice. In the last two months, the team has also organized webinars and community meetups to educate and engage with the Indian developer community. Alongside these outreach programs, Alexa team runs a monthly developer incentive program where developers who publish a new skill receive perks including an Echo Dot and AWS credits.
Developers can sign up on the Amazon Developer portal for free and easily learn how to start building for voice with the Alexa Skills Kit. For further information, visit https://developer.amazon.com/en-in/alexa-skills-kit