Amazon today announced the availability of, a website that simulates the capabilities of the Amazon Echo speaker, which employs Amazon s Alexa voice assistant technology.The thing about Alexa is that many people who don t own the Echo — or its smaller siblings, the Tap and the Echo Dot — haven t been able to see what Alexa is capable of.The new tool — which was inspired by the Alexa in the Browser application that Nexmo developer advocate Sam Machin came up with during a hackathon last year — solves that problem.Developers worldwide can use Echosim to experience Alexa, Amazon Alexa developer marketing manager Glenn Cameron wrote in a blog post.The introduction of the application is timely.Apple is preparing to release a Siri software development kit SDK that any developer will be able to tap so that Siri can do things with their applications — and Apple is even looking to enhance the Apple TV set-top box in order to turn it into an Echo competitor.Meanwhile, Amazon has also beaten Apple to bringing its assistant to the desktop — Siri is expected to make the jump to OS X soon.Google has brought its speech recognition capability to the desktop, from its search engine to Google Docs, and now Google is also working on exposing its Google Assistant technology to third-party developers.People will be able to interact with the Google Assistant through the upcoming Google Home speaker, which will compete directly with Alexa.
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Reports on Monday have suggested Apple s Siri assistant will soon be receiving a huge upgrade, thanks to some UK-based tech.TechInsider sources say Apple is ready to unleash the power of the VocalIQ start-up it purchased last year.According to the report, VocalIQ s natural language skills will help put Siri beyond Amazon Alexa, Google Now and Microsoft s Cortana.The report says: For example, imagine asking a computer to Find a nearby Chinese restaurant with open parking and WiFi that s kid-friendly.See also: Amazon Echo reviewAccording to the report, if a user decided to change the query to a Mexican restaurant, VocalIQ would be capable of remembering the other parameters.Recent speculation has suggested Apple may also open Siri up to third-party developercomments powered by Disqus
It isn t news that Pebble, the company behind one of Kickstarter s most successful crowdfunding campaigns in history, is rolling a few new wearables off the proverbial and literal assembly line.The integration of Amazon Alexa into Pebble Core is exciting to see, said Amazon s Alexa chief Steve Rabuchin.The $69 Core is set to start shipping in early 2017, and features music streaming via Spotify Premium plus GPS tracking, Qi wireless charging, and a dedicated button for launching Pebble apps.At tech blog Recode s Code Conference in San Francisco, Amazon chief Jeff Bezos revealed the the retail giant s voice intelligence ambitions extended far beyond its first-party Echo hardware.The company has recruited more than 1,000 software engineers to fine-tune Alexa s software, Bezos said in an interview with Recode s Walt Mossberg, and that the company has been fine-tuning artificial intelligence algorithms for four years.Chinese company iMCO s upcoming CoWatch smartwatch leverages Alexa for voice commands.
The integration will allow users to experience Alexa outside of the house, making Core the first truly independent 3G wearable with such functionality.Core users will be able to have Alexa check weather and traffic updates, grab and recite the latest news headline, set timers, tell a joke, shop for gifts and necessities on Amazon and even order a pizza, among other tasks.Advertised as a hackable computer, the device features Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS tracking, 3G connectivity and more.Adding Alexa to the mix only heightens its potential.Perhaps Pebble will strike a deal with Amazon to bring Alexa to its smartwatches as well but for now, it s only testing the waters with Core.That s not entirely surprising when you consider the campaign is collecting funds for three different products – two new Pebble smartwatches and the Core.
Sure Pebble put its best forward when it launched not one but three new products the other week, but a startup s got to stagger a little bit of news to keep us interested ahead of launch though judging by its current tally of $9.7 million on Kickstarter, the company is doing just fine in the buzz department, thank you very much .Today s news entails the Pebble Core, the real dark horse of group product launch.The little runner-focused keychain computer will be getting Amazon Alexa integration when it starts shipping to backers early next year.This move, Pebble is quick to point out, makes the Core the first fully-mobile wearable to officially get the Amazon voice functionality.Among the host of voice-related features are the ability to play music by way of Amazon Prime Music and iHeartRadio, headline news reading, Pebble Health summaries, weather and traffic updates, Amazon shopping and smart home device control.Pebble s also using the opportunity to remind potential developers that the Core s infinitely hackable platform is open, as well.
Instead of being a smartwatch, it s a tiny 3G-connected piece of plastic that ll track your runs through GPS and beam music down from Spotify.And now it seems like it s getting even more features.This will allow you to ask it a number of questions, search IMDB, read news headlines and check your latest shopping splurge on Amazon.Will we see these voice-activated features come to the Pebble Time 2 and Pebble 2?We d hope so, but Pebble has yet to confirm this.While Alexa is up and running in the USA, we haven t seen the Echo nor Alexa s smarts on the Fire TV 4K hit this side of the Atlantic.
In an announcement, the company highlighted several of the more notable additions to Alexa s selection of skills, including those from Capital One, Domino s, Fitbit, KAYAK, SmartThings, Uber, and others.Rob Pulciani, Director, Amazon Alexa, also gave an idea of the third-party developer community s size – which is now in the tens of thousands.Developers who want to build for the platform use the Alexa Skills Kit ASK to allow their voice-powered apps to work with Alexa, who hears and understands the customer s request, resolves it, and maps it the developer s endpoint, explains Amazon.And just this week, Amazon announced four new Alexa Skills Kit built-in intents that help users of third-party apps more easily navigate the skills, including being able to navigate to the next item in a list, pause an action in-progress, go back to a previous item, or resume an action.Search does not work that well, and there are no categories or top charts, as on other app stores.With over 1,000 apps and growing, Amazon will need to do more to bring the best apps to the front-and-center somehow, so potential users can actually find them.
From Marketing Land:Instagram s algorithmic feed will officially roll out over the next monthJun 3, 2016 by Tim PetersonInstagram claims people miss 70% of the posts in their reverse-chronological feeds, so it will officially roll out an algorithmic feed over the next month.Twitter is testing carousel ads again, but a different typeJun 3, 2016 by Tim PetersonAdvertisers can include up to 20 tweets, including ones sourced from normal people, in Twitter s newish slideshow-like carousel ad format.A CMO s View: How SunTrust is maximizing its Super Bowl 50 campaignJun 3, 2016 by Amy GesenhuesSusan Somersille Johnson shares why her brand decided to be a Super Bowl 50 advertiser and the steps it s taking to extend its OnUp Movement.IBM announces Watson-powered ads that thinkJun 2, 2016 by Barry LevineThe new cognitive ads, launching this fall initially through IBM s The Weather Company, enable consumers to conduct brand-related conversations with the Jeopardy winner.Recent Headlines From 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Read on for our pick of some of the best third-party integrations with Alexa, including why they're important, and how you can try them out without splashing out any cash in the first place.The smart home promised to make our apartments and houses more self-sufficient, but instead we've ended up glued to our phone and tablet screens, trying to configure wireless lights, brainy thermostats, and more.When you've got your hands full or are rushing to leave in the morning, having a smart assistant parse what's important can be very useful.Skills to report on subway, bus, and train services in a variety of cities including Boston, Toronto, NYC, the Bay Area's Caltrain, and more can tell you if there are delays, when the next ride is due, and help you figure out when you need to leave.The sight-impaired, or those lacking the dexterity to interact with small touchscreens often get left out, but a voice-led interface can help restore independence.Recreated in software, once it has your Amazon account details it can act just like a regular Echo, only you'll need to click the microphone button to start Alexa listening rather than call to her from across the room.
Amazon's line of Echo speakers and the virtual assistant Alexa are constantly getting updated with new features and connected services, but the company has now revealed that the number of third-party skills available has topped 1,000.That's a lot of new abilities for Alexa that developers have created, resulting in useful features like the ability to check bank accounts, make travel plans, and even order a pizza, all via voice commands."Less than a year ago we released the Alexa Skills Kit, making it possible for any developer to create voice experiences for Alexa," said Alexa director Rob Pulciani."Today, we have a vibrant community of tens of thousands of developers who are learning about the service, bringing useful and innovative skills to every aspect of Alexa customers lives, and introducing their own users to the magic and simplicity of hands-free, voice-driven interactions.We re excited about the 1,000 skills that are already available, and can t wait to see what developers create with the next ten thousand."Along with the previously mentioned skills from Capital One, Kayak, and Domino s, other big-name services to connect with Alexa include the ability to request an Uber ride, using voice commands to control Haiku ceiling fans, and a number of home automation integrations with the SmartThings platform.
It soon may be easier to list the things Amazon s Alexa can t do rather than the things it can.Thanks to the Alexa Skills Set and the Smart Home Skill API, developers can continuously teach Alexa new skills and offer new integrations to customers.Less than a year ago, we released the Alexa Skills Kit, making it possible for any developer to create voice experiences for Alexa, said Rob Pulciani, Amazon Alexa director.Today, we have a vibrant community of tens of thousands of developers who are learning about the service, bringing useful and innovative skills to every aspect of Alexa customers lives, and introducing their own users to the magic and simplicity of hands-free, voice-driven interactions.Even if you re looking to leave your home — and Alexa — for awhile, the AI can help thanks to an integration with Kayak, which lets users access travel details with nothing more than their voice.We are moving quickly to build on it, said Matthias Keller, chief scientist at Kayak.
Here s our daily recap of what happened in marketing technology.Instagram s algorithmic feed will officially roll out over the next monthJun 3, 2016 by Tim PetersonInstagram claims people miss 70% of the posts in their reverse-chronological feeds, so it will officially roll out an algorithmic feed over the next month.How to harness the IoT of retail technologyJun 3, 2016 by Allan HaimsAs the Internet of Things transforms retail, columnist Allan Haims discusses the hurdles and how businesses can successfully integrate the vast amounts of IoT data.My SEO optimized & UI-friendly e-commerce FrankensteinJun 3, 2016 by Christian SculthorpIf you could create the perfect e-commerce website by combining elements from successful sites, which ones would you choose?Last chance to enter the Biggest Search Geek Contest and win a free trip to SMX AdvancedJun 2, 2016 by Digital Marketing DepotWant a free ticket to SMX Advanced search marketing conference, complete with hotel and airfare?The contestant who answers the most questions correctly in the shortest amount of time will win the grand prize — a flight and … From Around The Web:Snapchat secretly acquires Seene, a computer vision startup that lets mobile users make 3D selfies, techcrunch.comAmazon Alexa now has over 1,000 Skills, up from 135 in January, techcrunch.comAmazon Echo: The new voice in brand engagement, www.mobilecommercedaily.comSynthesio Introduces Instant Insights: Powerful New Social Insights Reporting and Alerts System, www.prnewswire.comWhy CMOs Should Learn to Speak Geek, www.martechadvisor.comFacebook built a chat bot called Crisis Bot to monitor global crises, qz.comThis Hotel Is Giving Travelers 360-Degree Cameras to Shoot Its VR Campaign,
Amazon's Alexa can now help you track your meals through its new food tracking skill powered by Nutritionix.Why advertise with usBy simply saying "ask FoodTracker", you can ask Alexa about 11 different nutrients supported by the skill, including calories, fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, fibre, sugar, protein, sodium, phosphorous and potassium."We're thrilled to work with Nutritionix to launch the Nutritionix Alexa skill, providing an even larger nutrition and food database to our customers," Rob Pulciani, director of Amazon Alexa, said in a statement."With Track by Nutritionix, one can now log their entire day's worth of food in less than 60 seconds.Amazon CEO and founder Jeff Bezos, however, says he isn't worried."I think there are going to be a bunch of artificially intelligent agents in the world," Bezos told Recode's Walt Mossberg at Recode's Code Conference.
Since Amazon debuted its AI-powered Alexa virtual assistant in 2014, the innovative platform has allowed users to accomplish a variety of tasks such as setting cook timers, building shopping lists, or dimming the lights.We re thrilled to work with Nutritionix to launch the Nutritionix Alexa skill, providing an even larger nutrition and food database to our customers, said Rob Pulciani, director of Amazon Alexa.Our mission is to make it easier for people to understand what they eat, Nutritionix s Director of Product Matt Silverman said.Through the launch of our Amazon Alexa skill, we are excited to enable millions of Amazon Alexa users to better understand and keep track of the foods they eat every day.To activate Nutritionix s new feature, Alexa users need to simply search for Track by Nutrionix via the Alexa app.Even non-Alexa users can take advantage of Nutritionix s innovative tracking feature by downloading the Nutritionix app via an iOS- or Android-enabled smartphone.
Having a conversation with your iPhone is about to become the norm, thanks to the launch of Apple s new Siri software development kit, which will finally let third-party app developers give the voice-activated digital assistant more smarts.In the WeChat example, Federighi said, Send a WeChat to Nancy saying I ll be five minutes late.The Siri SDK is rolling out with iOS 10, which officially launches this fall but will be open to developers over the summer so they can improve their apps.Siri s third-party support also works with CarPlay, so you can make calls and send texts using those apps without having to use your hands.As iPhone sales growth slows, Cupertino needs to make its phones more compelling, and not just on the hardware side.Making Siri smarter and more capable is one way to accomplish that.
OPINION: With another year of WWDC and Google I/O conferences in the books, it s time to declare the victors in the perennial battle between tech s big two.Apple brought 10 new headline features to the dance within iOS 10 but as my colleagues James and Max point out, only around half of them actually really matter.This year there seemed to be more instances of Apple announcing features that have existed within other apps and operating systems than usual, and treating them like a big deal.Imagine pointing your camera lens at something and asking Google: What is this?The Siri and Amazon Alexa rival promises to be such a leap due to its ability to understand contextual, conversational requests, the power of Google Search and the ability to integrate with all of our existing Google services.Our OCD certainly feels more comfortable with the neatness.
Since Peter Rojas, cofounder of Engadget and Gizmodo, left AOL for Betaworks last summer, he s had two-hour conversations daily with director of seed investment Matt Hartman.That s why three months ago the two created Botcamp, perhaps the first startup accelerator for chatbot makers.Rojas and Hartman shared data about its first class of applicants Tuesday at Botness, providing a glimpse of what early-stage startups are working on in a fledgling bot ecosystem.Botness is a gathering of about 50 chatbot developers, AI startup founders, and chat apps held Monday and Tuesday in San Francisco.For Botcamp s inaugural class, 10 chatbot startups will be selected from a field of nearly 350 applications submitted via chatbot, of course from entrepreneurs and startups from the U.S., China, South America, Africa, and elsewhere.Platforms, personal assistants, health and wellness, and commerce rounded out the top five.Participants in the Botcamp accelerator will receive investment from Betaworks and join bot maker Howdy, IFTTT, Medium, Product Hunt, and 100 other startups.Botcamp will choose applications submitted by early-stage concepts and projects that are further along, but the enterprise space had the most fully formed ideas that can be incorporated into an employee s workflow and have broad implications.We were a little surprised by how much we came around to seeing the utility of bots in the enterprise space when our original focus was that we d have a lot more consumer, he said.Everything else is what we think about as actual bots, Hartman said.SMS was the largest platform applicants are building for, followed by Slack, App, Telegram, and the web.Partners, sponsors, and mentors include Slack, Facebook, Amazon Alexa, Bloomberg Beta, and SV Angel.Whether that s deep data science or a bunch of data they re gathering or AI or some kind of network that s being built.
Since the eighties, Microsoft has always thought of Office in a certain, very rigid way.But on stage at the Bloomberg Technology Conference, Microsoft Office Chief Experience Officer Julie Larson-Green revealed that she recently shook up the whole Office organization — because people just don't get stuff done the way they used to.When people are working on their smartphones, or even using voice interfaces like Apple Siri, Amazon Alexa, or Microsoft's own Cortana, they're not worried about individual apps, but rather the overall project they're working on.Which is to say, Microsoft can start to treat charts differently than text or spreadsheets or calendar invites.That way, for example, if you ask Cortana for all the charts you made on Monday, she can strip them straight out of Excel and show them to you.It's an unconventional approach, Larson-Green admits."You have to be willing to take risks," Larson-Green says.NOW WATCH: This Microsoft developer built a voice-controlled smart mirror in 20 hoursLoading video...
Amazon's Alexa is truly growing up to becoming the personal assistant for the home, sprinting past Google, Apple, and Microsoft and giving them a run for their money.While those big three are scrambling to get a foothold inside living rooms, Amazon is already building up its army rallying behind Alexa.Of course, today, we N number of such platforms, from Apple's HomeKit to Google's Brillo to Samsung's SmartThings, which means Harmony still has a relevance and a loyal following.In practice, that means that users that have both Logitech Harmony and one or all of those Amazon products can call on Alexa to set up the living room for a conducive movie night or to prepare the coffee and the music for a productive morning.Although it started out as an awkward but popular smart canister, Amazon Echo and therefore Alexa, has rapidly expanded its space, almost becoming the byword in voice-enabled smart home automation.VIA: Zatz Not Funny