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Here’s a selection of five Alexa skills worth trying, selected based on their rank in the trending, most-enabled, and new this week categories in the Alexa Skills Marketplace.
In Alexa news this week, we learned at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that Alexa will power Motorola devices. Even more importantly, Amazon was busy seeding the Alexa ecosystem this week.
On Wednesday, Aviel Ginzburg was named managing director of the Alexa accelerator, a Seattle-based startup accelerator looking for 10 companies to scale voice technology products and services. A day later, the Alexa Fund Fellowship was established to support researchers and universities working in the fields of artificial intelligence and voice technology.
We also learned this week that Amazon wants to give Alexa the ability to identify different voices, and the Door Lock API was launched to allow connected devices to lock and unlock doors.
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This skill requires additional setup in the Alexa app because it “contains mature content that is not suitable for all ages.” You’ll have to fill out a form with email address, zip code, and birth date inside the Alexa app to open it.
Once you’ve done that, you’ll be welcomed to “margarita season” and can choose cocktail styles, get tequila facts, or be directed to ways to buy tequila. I like that after you’ve heard Alexa read off recipe ingredients, the skill sends the recipe to the Alexa app for use now or later. Simple enough, but it’s not a rule employed by every cocktail or cooking recipe.
Find out the price of every publicly traded stock in the United States. You can also ask it for general market updates.
If you aren’t familiar with theSkimm’s style it can be hard to follow at times. But theSkimm, which started as a newsletter for millions of women interested in keeping up with public affairs, is a pretty big success, so give these flash briefings a try.
The American Heart Association
This skill comes with the disclaimer that it’s not designed for an emergency situation (when you should call 911), but it does describe the symptoms of a heart attack, which can include chest discomfort, nausea, or lightheadedness. It notes that women, the elderly, and diabetics are more likely to have less-common symptoms, like pain in their back or shoulders.
Given the number of people killed by heart disease every year, a hands-free device that you can ask about heart attacks and their symptoms seems like low-hanging fruit in terms of the practical applications of voice technology.
Pretty much exactly what you’d expect it to be. Ask it any question about the future and Magic 8-Ball will predict the outcome.
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