Each week, we take a look at new and important Alexa skills you might want to consider enabling for your Alexa device. Amazon continues to improve Alexa with its own updates, but skills are software components that allow Alexa users to extend functionality across all Alexa-enabled devices in use for very specific functions.
Before we get started, just a bit of commentary. Amazon’s skill store is a mess. That’s been the case for a long while, but its gotten even worse over the last month or so. I blame a couple things. First, Amazon ran a promotion in May offering an Alexa backpack and a free Echo Plus, so the store filled up with crap. Second, the backend for skills submissions must be broken. There’s skills that have no images and multiple examples of duplicate entries. I realize that Amazon is working on ways to locate and enable applicable skills through voice to avoid having to the use the skill store, but I think it first needs to fix the store itself.
This week’s skill: Scout FM
Description: Scout FM, where you can always find something good to listen to. Our curators find the best radio shows and podcasts from sources you trust, like NPR, Gimlet, New York Times, WNYC, This American Life, and more. When you listen, we always tell you what the episode is about before we start playing so you have a chance to skip it and go on to the next thing.
Real world use: Its tough finding Podcasts that are ultimately the most interesting to you. There’s just so many available these days, sifting through catalogs of content can be frustrating, and even then you’re not sure you’ve selected the best.
Scout FM does a great job fixing this problem. Scout FM is a curated Podcast service, but with a built into voice rating system that helps evolve based on your tastes and content needs. The skill utilizes all the same voice controls as other Podcast skills (play, pause, etc.) but also accepts and acts on commands such as “I love this” or “I hate this.”
And, as you start building your personalized list of streaming content, you can expand beyond Echo devices. Scout FM is also available in iOS and Android apps.
iOS App: Scout FM – podcasts & radio
Android App: Scout FM – podcasts & radio
Alexa is available for Amazon devices Echo, Echo 2, Dot, Tap, Echo Spot, Echo Plus, Echo Show, Echo Look, Echo Connect, Dash Wand, Amazon Cloud Cam, Fire tablets, and Fire TV, Amazon Fire TV Edition TVs, in the Music app, but also on iOS, Android, and the web with Reverb.ai.
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