Google has finally confirmed roughly when the Google Home will be released in the UK. During an interview with the BBC at the Mobile World Conference, Google's Rick Osterloh confirmed that Google's home assistant would be released by the end of June.
Up until now if you wished to control a smart lock you would have needed to first initiate a skill and call the command within the skill however now the Smart Home Skills API has been extended to introduce the following intents:
I completely missed this after the original announcement however Amazon have announced a new Skills contest. This time the contest is in partnership with Dev Post.
The contest is extremely open and any type of skill can be submitted providing the skill is unique. The overall prize value for this contest is a whopping $40,000.
Today Amazon suffered a major failure on 1 of their online services. The S3 services in the US-East1 (North Virginia) became unresponsive. The outage lasted several hours and impacted some quite large names.
The Amazon Alexa team recently posted on the Alexa blog. The Amazon Echo was initially released on November 6th, 2014 to Prime members (and June 23rd, 2015 for non-Prime users). To have achieved sp many skills in such a short period of time is made even more impressive by the fact that skill developers currently cannot monetize their skill.
1 much-requested feature for Alexa was the ability to use Office 365 calendars. In today's Amazon Echo newsletter they mentioned that support has been added for @outlook.com, @live.co.uk, @hotmail.com, @hotmail.co.uk and @live.com calendars. Of course, an office 365 account does not end in any of these but I thought I would give it a try regardless. To my delight, it worked.
Episode 10 has just been released of the Alexa Dev Chat Podcast.
The following is the podcast details:
In the episode Dave chats with Alexa Champion, John Wheeler. John is the author of the popular Flask-Ask framework which helps developers quickly create and test high quality Alexa skills using the Python programming language.
At the tail end of 2016 Amazon partnered with hackter.io to create a new Alexa API Mashup contest. The aim of the contest had clearly been to create an influx of newly created skills. Amazon has partnered with hackster.io a number of times prior and since this particular contest was created.
Over the last hour, there have been reports that a new over the air update is following out for the Amazon Tap. At present, the Tap requires a button to be pressed prior to being able to invoke a command. Well, the update reportedly changes this and allows the Tap to listen out for the wake word in the same fashion as the Echo and Dot.
I have checked the Amazon help and support page, however, the latest firmware is listed as 564197320 which introduced:
While logging into the Amazon Developer Portal yesterday I noticed that there was a notice that the terms and conditions had been updated to take into consideration the release of Amazon Voice Services (AVS) in the UK and Germany (looks like the T&C's were actually updated on the 30th Jan). To be honest I was quite surprised as I had not seen any news to suggest that the service had been released in the UK. Looks like I was not going crazy.