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Amazon’s Alexa Gets Serious About Location, Location, Location
People may soon have an easier time asking Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa about their local weather or nearby movie theaters.
The retail giant debuted a tool on Wednesday that lets coders build Alexa skills, or services, that provide more personalized information or perform certain actions based on people’s locations.
Alexa users, in theory, could get recommendations for nearby gyms and schedule grocery deliveries at their homes—without having to provide their addresses. Weather forecasting company AccuWeather, for example, used the tool to create an Alexa skill that tells people the weather in their hometowns when they ask.
Developers can use the new Device Address API to build Alexa skills that operate using with people’s location data, which includes street addresses, zip codes, and country locations. Coders use APIs, or application-programming interfaces, to build powerful apps that use data from different sources.
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Developers will have to get user consent to get access to location data. That information would then be automatically used each time a person talks to Alexa.
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Alexa is the assistant for Amazon’s Echo home speaker, an Internet-connected device that can play music, answer questions, and order pizza by voice command. Increasingly, it’s also being adopted by third-party companies for their electronics.