The Alexa app on iPhone will soon be able to control some of your installed apps using the new Alexa for Apps developer platform.
Amazon announced a developer preview of the new Alexa for Apps API on Wednesday. The Alexa for Apps initiative will let developers tie portions of their app functionality to Alexa skills, which can deep link users to specific information with a simple command.
The initiative sounds similar to efforts already conducted by Apple and Google on their respective platforms. Currently, when using Alexa on iPhone, users are confined to the app experience, and cannot call on Alexa from anywhere else on the device. Alexa for Apps will be on other Alexa-first platforms however, and enable the new functionality anywhere Alexa is being used, like the Echo Buds or some Android devices.
The following features will be enabled by Alexa for Apps:
- Search within apps like Twitter
- Ask for information like menus from SONIC
- Access functionality within an app, like starting a recording within Tik Tok
“We believe that voice technology is fundamentally changing the way people search for and find businesses to solve their problems. It’s just easier to ask and get immediate results for a restaurant, gas station or urgent care center that’s closest to you, rather than opening an app and typing,” said Thryv’s Director of Consumer Sites Arbi Vartanian. “We were able to easily launch our first Alexa skill, using Alexa’s new deep-linking capability, to connect voice searches to results in our Yellow Pages app.”
While these new features will be available within the Alexa app on iOS, you can find similar functionality within Siri. The built-in iOS assistant will have system-wide access to your apps and be available at any time by using “Hey Siri” when activating the assistant hands-free.
Amazon did not announce a release window for Alexa for Apps, but developers can opt into the preview via the Amazon website.