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Business Insider

Amazon’s Alexa has gained 14,000 skills in the last year

But whether most of those other skills is useful is debateable

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 11:03am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 July, 2017, 11:09am

By Jeff Dunn

Amazon’s Alexa is gaining knowledge at a rapid clip.

The voice assistant now has more than 15,000 “skills” (Amazon’s term for voice-based apps), nearly all of them created in the little more than two years since Amazon opened Alexa to outside developers. That is boatloads more than the number of apps available for Alexa’s chief rivals, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana, according to recent Voicebot data. And all those skills make Alexa able to do more tasks than its peers.

But Amazon’s “arms-wide-open” strategy means that, for every useful skill its assistant gains, it gets three skills dedicated to telling you egg facts. What’s more, Alexa is the dumbest of the major assistants when it comes to answering general knowledge questions, according to a recent study.

But if the goal is to create something as ubiquitous as a new computing interface, being open to all kinds of skills isn’t the worst idea. Amazon and Alexa are closest to that point today; time will tell if they can work out the kinks.

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