Alexa, the personal assistant on Amazon devices like Echo and FireTV, comes equipped with a bunch of skills, like playing music, controlling home automation devices (to an extent), ordering products on Amazon.com and so on. The virtual assistant from Amazon is based in the cloud and getting better each day, moving into more and more devices.
Now, Alexa is set to meet the larger audience through the Amazon shopping app. It will be integrated as a virtual assistant that can be accessed within the retailer’s main shopping app.
The app, which allows users to ask about news, weather and basic facts, is already made available for iPhone users; this week the app will arrive on Android as well.
Though Amazon hasn’t made a final note on the launch, it was confirmed that the integration will be rolling out this week.
The thought of integrating the AI assistant with the Amazon shopping application comes as a surprise, given that Amazon already has a standalone Alexa app. While it is clear that Amazon shoppers would not really need to perform these sort of tasks from their Amazon app, it looks more like an Alexa demo for people to get the hang of voice commands and what they can do. The point is to get consumers familiar with Alexa to promote the purchase of hardware devices like the Echo, Tap or Echo Dot.
The in-app version of Amazon’s smart assistant can perform a specific set of functions including answering basic factual questions about people, dates, music, sports and also provide updates on the daily news. Apart from this, Alexa can also provide information on weather and traffic conditions. It also allows Starbucks pickup orders, booking an Uber and more.
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There is no additional or exclusive functionality included with the Android launch – it is just an extension from iOS to Android. As with most releases, the additional feature could be rolled out gradually to the global Android user base.