In April, Amazon introduced Alexa Skill Blueprints, a toolset for the company’s artificially intelligent voice assistant that allows users without knowledge of coding to create their own Alexa skills. Starting today, it’s letting users share those custom skills through email, text, WhatsApp, and social media platforms — including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other mediums.
“Alexa Skill Blueprints are designed to make Alexa more personalized for customers, and we think the ability to share these experiences directly with family and friends will allow Alexa to be even more useful and delightful for customers,” an Amazon spokesperson wrote in an email. “Customers can create personal skills for occasions such as birthdays and share [them] with loved ones, and students can create flashcard skills and share with their study group.”
Sharing a Blueprint is relatively straightforward. Once you’ve created it, simply head to the “Skills You’ve Made” page in the Skill Blueprint dashboard and select the Blueprint you’d like to share. Under the Skill Actions section of the Access menu, choose the “Share With Others” line and specify how you’d like the skill to be shared.
When you send a skill to a friend or relative, they’ll receive a link to enable the skill, along with a custom note from you. Any changes you make to the skill will be immediately shared with anyone you’ve shared the Blueprint with, and you can revoke access at any time by changing access to Just Me in the Access menu. (Amazon notes that once you’ve share a skill, you can’t update the name without revoking access to it first.)
To enable a Blueprint skill that’s been shared with you, you’ll have to use the Alexa app for Android or iOS. Launch it and go to Skills > Your Skills > Personal Skill, where you’ll see the option to view details about the skill or disable it.
Blueprints aren’t as fully featured as custom-coded Alexa skills, but they can do things like anticipate questions from a houseguest, host quizzes, and tell jokes. To demonstrate their potential, Amazon has added new Blueprint templates for Father’s Day, including World’s Best Dad (storyteller template), All About Dad (compliments template), and Dad Jokes (family jokes template).
Blueprints join a series of voice apps available for Amazon’s Alexa, including flash briefings for news, smart home skills, and visual skills for Echo Show and Echo Dot.