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Amazon Adds New Skills Blueprints, Handsfree Voice Operation on Windows 10

Amazon Adds New Skills Blueprints, Handsfree Voice Operation on Windows 10

While the new Blueprints can be used by creators to broadcast their work, the Alexa app update on Windows 10 is designed to take over Cortana's utility.

Amazon is steadily working to improve its overall ecosystem, and has rolled out updates for its overall ecosystem, as well as the Alexa app on Windows 10, in a bid to increase user adoption of the virtual assistant among creators as well as among the massive Windows user base across the world. While the addition of Alexa Skills Blueprints is designed to aid creators, the integration of the handsfree usage of Alexa on Windows 10 is designed to take over the utility aspect of Microsoft Cortana, as well as offer an experience that advertises the Echo speakers well.

To begin with, the new Alexa Skills Blueprints are designed to add utility to the Alexa ecosystem in terms of functionality for creators. These skills are bundled under new Flash Briefings for creators to broadcast their work around the entire world through Alexa speakers, and now even the Echo Spot. Alexa now also has support for creators that blog on WordPress, to enable publishing of their work in audio format on Alexa. Also available in similar format are skills for educational and religious institutions, which can publish their work in audio as well.

In terms of the Windows app, the Alexa app on Windows can now support handsfree operations. The Alexa app was launched for Windows 10 back in November 2018, and is also synchronised with Cortana to enable features such as controlling music playback, setting reminders, scrolling emails and more. Now, the Alexa app on Microsoft's ecosystem will be able to respond to the Alexa voice prompt, and execute voice commands for supported features. This would essentially enable users to get an experience similar to an Amazon Echo speaker, which too responds to voice commands in similar manner.

In line with this, users can continue building their own Alexa Skills locally, specialised for their own devices. This allows them to customise the overall Alexa experience, without needing to validate the Skill with the global team. The Alexa Skills Blueprints and the handsfree Windows 10 support are both live now, and can be used by Echo and Windows 10 users alike.