In order to strengthen its foothold in the nascent smart speaker market, Amazon is building India-first software experiences for its Echo smart speakers. The US tech giant recently introduced the ability for users to hear curated news updates from various categories like entertainment, business, and sports among others on their Echo smart speakers.
Puneesh Kumar, country manager-India, Alexa Experience, and Devices said, “This is different from the existing Flash briefing feature on Alexa that provides latest updates from popular news sources via third-party voice apps. “While we have had the new feature in the United States, news by topic and providers was a big request in India. For instance, people said they wanted to hear only tech news or business news.”
He said the curation is done through a mixture of automated and manual, which is mainly used to provide information like what’s the news of the week or what's your weekly update.
Amazon is also working on creating more awareness and improving the discoverability of third-party voice apps, known as Alexa Skills, among its customers. “Although we have a skill store and ratings, skills are increasing at a very rapid pace. One of the ways we are looking at is for users to ask Alexa to tell them top skills in any specific category like horoscope,” Kumar said.