Amazon today unveiled Alexa Skill Blueprints, a set of templates that anyone can use, even if they don’t know how to code, to build their own skills for the digital assistant.
So far, users can choose from more than 20 different blueprints, including games and quizzes, instructions for house guests and babysitters and the ability to create audio stories. Alexa Skill Blueprints also let users customize Alexa’s answers to specific questions.
Alexa already has more than 30,000 skills, and this move is designed to make it easier for non-developers to customize the digital assistant. Custom skills created with blueprints don’t go into the Alexa Skills Store; they are tied to devices associated with the Amazon account where they are created.
Amazon’s decision to open the digital brain up to developers and device manufacturers in 2015 has contributed to its early lead in the competitive smart speaker race. The Alexa Skills Kit encourages third-party developers to build skills for Alexa. Developers who want to add to Alexa’s abilities can write code that works with Alexa in the cloud, letting the smart assistant do the heavy lifting of understanding and deciphering spoken commands.