Amazon will let developers build premium Alexa content directed at kids with an expansion of its in-skill purchasing feature.
The company last year debuted in-skill purchasing, which lets developers sell digital content — like one-time purchases or subscriptions — directly within a given skill, which is Amazon’s way of describing Alexa voice apps and capabilities.
Amazon today released a preview of new tools for U.S. developers to do the same, but for kid skills. The premium content will require an approval via text or email from the Amazon account holder (presumably a parent or guardian), the company said today in a blog post that provides more details.
Account holders can disable voice discovery of premium content from their Alexa app. They can also disable the in-skill purchasing notifications, allowing purchases without approval.
Amazon said that customers with FreeTime on Alexa, its games and media service for kids, won’t receive offers to purchase premium content within skills. For FreeTime Unlimited subscribers, “many of these premium experiences will already be available automatically as part of their subscription at no additional cost,” Amazon said.
The new rollout comes just after a pair of lawsuits were filed this week that allege that Amazon’s Alexa violates laws in nine states by illegally storing recordings of children on devices such as the Echo or Echo Dot. The suits were filed in courts in Seattle and Los Angeles on Tuesday, on the eve of Amazon unveiling the latest generation of Echo Dot Kids Edition smart speaker. It’s the latest development in an ongoing debate around Alexa and privacy.