This morning, Amazon made Alexa Blueprints available. Alexa Blueprints is a website-based way of creating your own custom Alexa skills with custom questions and responses. From simple things like asking a specific question and having a pre-programmed answer repeated back to you, to templates (aka blueprints, get it?) that allow you to tell bedtime stories, play trivia games, help a houseguest find the remote or other items, etc.
Each of these are super easy to make and are fill-in-the-blank templates for the most part. Now, because of this, they’re obviously not that advanced, but I could see how they could still be useful. I would totally use the Houseguest one myself to tell people who stay there to stop bothering me with their questions (LOOKING AT YOU, AUNT LYNNE), the Flashcard one to help study for something maybe, and if nothing else, I’m sure some people will find a lot of them fun to mess around with.
To use them, just head to blueprints.amazon.com and log in with your Amazon account that is attached to the Echo devices that you use (it will only let you use this skill on devices that have that account on them, by the way).
Some of the blueprints include:
- Custom Q&A: The most basic of them. Lets you put in a custom question that will trigger a custom answer.
- Fairy Tale: Lets you fill in the blanks on a story, Madlib-style in a way.
- Houseguest: Put in devices and where to find them or actions and how to do them (i.e. “Where is the toilet paper?” vs “How do I lock the door?”).
- Quiz: Create questions and answers and even add follow-up facts to each one, then keep a score to see who wins.
- Double Trouble: This should be called “Pick a Fight with Your Significant Other” but basically it allows you to put in questions like “Who said ‘I love you’ first?” and then let the partner confirm if it’s true or not and keep score to see who wins.
- And more.
Even though they are very basic, this is the first time I’ve seen any of these voice assistants allow for this type of customization. I could see how if it did let you get more advanced and/or enable you to publish them to the Alexa Skills, it could be a neat way for Amazon to get a ton more skills into the Skills section and help differentiate them further from Google Home and the Apple HomePod.
Would any of you guys use these? I feel like if you have kids you would, for sure, but what about if not?