Book Image

Alexa Skills Projects

By : Madhur Bhargava
Book Image

Alexa Skills Projects

By: Madhur Bhargava

Overview of this book

Amazon Echo is a smart speaker developed by Amazon, which connects to Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service and is entirely controlled by voice commands. Amazon Echo is currently being used for a variety of purposes such as home automation, asking generic queries, and even ordering a cab or pizza. Alexa Skills Projects starts with a basic introduction to Amazon Alexa and Echo. You will then deep dive into Alexa Programming concepts such as Intents, Slots, Lambdas and maintaining your skill’s state using DynamoDB. You will get a clear understanding of how some of the most popular Alexa Skills work, and gain experience of working with real-world Amazon Echo applications. In the concluding chapters, you will explore the future of voice-enabled applications and their coverage with respect to the Internet of Things. By the end of the book, you will have learned to design Alexa Skills for specific purposes and interact with Amazon Echo to execute these skills.
Table of Contents (14 chapters)
Title Page
Packt Upsell

A Comparison of Various Voice-Based Personal Assistants

Due to our previous discussions, we already know that each market, whether it is desktop, smartphones, or smart homes, has a steady supply of interactive voice-based personal assistants. Almost every assistant can do whatever its counterparts can accomplish, but this leads to the question, where do the actual differences lie? Is there something that Alexa can do better than Google Assistant or vice versa?

This book is based on Alexa, which is a Smart-Home basedpersonal assistant, so in this section, we shall compare Alexa and Google Assistant to understand the finer differences between the two:


Google Assistant

Uses the invocation phrase, "Alexa"

Uses the invocation phrase, "OK, Google"

Flagship hardware—Amazon Echo device family

   Flagship hardware—Google Home, Pixel 2, Android Wear

Responds slightly better to e-commerce/shopping-related queries, since that is Amazon's main forte

Responds slightly better to web-based queries since Google's major forte is web searching

Slightly inferior contextual awareness

Better contextual awareness, hence conversations seem a little more natural

Capabilities of Alexa can be extended by installing third-party "skills"

Capabilities of Google Assistant can be extended by installing third-party apps; however, it has fewer apps currently available for it in the market than Alexa has skills

A wider range of integration with smart home devices such as smart lights, smart locks, smart switches, and smart thermostats

Slightly narrower range of integration with smart home devices

In a nutshell, both Google and Alexa are very skilled voice-based assistants and accomplish a lot for their users; however, since Google Assistant is fairly new to the market, its integration and compatibility with third-party apps and hardware is still evolving, albeit at a very rapid pace. However, even being the newer of the two, Google Home still fares better in terms of web integration and contextual awareness.

It would be really interesting to see what the evolution of AI and Machine Learning brings to the table in the coming era and how these assistants are able to leverage that.