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 with this week’s skill, I think its important to get a sense of where Amazon is going with skills. Just as the Alexa skills database has breached the 50,000 mark, Amazon is reenvisioning how skills will work in the future – or rather how the lack of skills will work. The sills database is unwieldy making it difficult to locate good and valuable skills. We’ve known this for a long while. And, no matter what Amazon does to make the listsings prettier, nothing has helped.
Now, Amazon is planning the next phase. Rohit Prasad, Alexa’s vice president and head scientist, recently admitted that Amazon is looking for ways to eliminate the need for Alexa skill altogether:
“We don’t want Alexa to be like your smartphone, where you have fifty apps on your home screen. The way we’re solving that is that you’ll just speak, and we will find the most relevant skill that can answer your query.”
This makes a lot of sense. Alexa should be able to just complete your request without having to install a new skill to make it work each time.
This week’s skill: Voice Reader for Reddit
Description: A more laid back, and interactive way to hear your daily reddit feed. Hear the hottest 10 posts and an optional comment from your chosen subreddit. This skill focuses on providing excellent service on text heavy subreddits, such as AskReddit via Amazon Alexa.
Real world use: There’s actually quite a few Reddit reader skills for Alexa, but this latest one really improves on all the others. Here’s the list of cool features:
- Multi subreddit selection. Pick from a wide range of subreddits to visit.
- Saves the last subreddit you visited. When you come back, you can get right into your feed!
- Contains a detailed list of commands ranging from repeating, going back, or skipping posts in your feed. (For in app commands, say ‘Alexa help’, after picking a subreddit)
- Filters out annoying bot comments and removed/deleted comments. (Does NOT filter out NSFW content, so parents beware.)
- Shows card displays for all post titles. Supports Amazon Show, Amazon Spot, Fire tablets, Echo dot.
- Voice Reader commands AFTER picking your subreddit.
- After picking a subreddit, you can use a full list of commands. For quick access in the app say, Alexa help, to get the
- command list.
- Alexa next, will move onto the next post.
- Alexa repeat, will say the post again.
- Alexa back, will go back to the previous post
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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