Technology 3 min read

Amazon Makes "Alexa Skill Blueprints" Fully Public

Amazon expanded its Amazon Skill Blueprints program to include a public marketplace that anyone can upload to. Users can already choose from a catalog of around 80,000 skills. But does this raise concerns of crowdsourcing labor?

Alexa Skills could be a great boost for Amazon's smart home offensive -- but could it get too bloated? ¦ Shutterstock

Alexa Skills could be a great boost for Amazon's smart home offensive -- but could it get too bloated? ¦ Shutterstock

Last year, Amazon launched its Alexa Skill Blueprints program. But only this week did the company make it public and possible to create hundreds of unique “skills”.

How does the program work and what can Alexa do now that other virtual assistants can’t?

The Amazon Skill Blueprints program works for any product that uses Alexa. | NYTimes

Public Marketplace for all Kinds of Skills

Originally, Alexa device owners could create customized voice skills, as well as responses, without coding knowledge. But these were only for personal use until Amazon added the functionality to share these skills with others using a link.

Amazon has transformed the program again by creating its own Alexa Skills Blueprint marketplace.

Basically, anyone can create skills and publish them publicly using the U.S. Alexa Skills store. This naturally services the needs of bloggers, content creators, and even organizations.

You can find around 80,000 different types of skills on their website including:

  • “University” – posting lectures from a university for others
  • “Doubles Trouble” – a game where couples see who knows whom best
  • “Hallmark Valentine’s Greeting” – a way to create a personalized Valentine’s Day card
  • “Flash Briefing” – a tool to make weekly or daily content for customers

There are many more from quiz Skills to roommate chore chart creators. You can find a handy-dandy tutorial on Amazon’s Blueprint site, as well.

Google leverages crowdsourcing for “Local Guides”; Amazon does the same with this new marketplace. | Pixabay

The Pros and Cons of a Crowdsourced Public Marketplace

While the concept is interesting and futuristic, it also seems a bit predatory. After all, Amazon will likely turn around and use these creations for their own gain under the guise of an open-source marketplace.

Amid these concerns, Amazon must also worry about the Skills catalog growing too quickly or too much.

Similarly to the overwhelming number of products available on Amazon, the company could find themselves in the same pickle with Amazon Skill Blueprints.

They already have 80,000 skills available and anyone can create and publish them now. So, who’s to say how Amazon will better categorize, organize, and streamline the interface?

Despite concerns like these, many of the skills are very beneficial. This includes a Skill that transcribes WordPress blogs into audio using Alexa. That means that smaller news outlets can leverage Alexa now, but bad actors can use these features, as well.

Read More: The Alexa-Powered Smart Home is on the Way

First AI Web Content Optimization Platform Just for Writers

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Juliet Childers

Content Specialist and EDGY OG with a (mostly) healthy obsession with video games. She covers Industry buzz including VR/AR, content marketing, cybersecurity, AI, and many more.

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