With more than 30,000 skills now available for Amazon Alexa, figuring out the one that will best fulfill your request can be a challenge. Fortunately, that's getting a lot easier.
Amazon this week launched a new beta feature called CanFulfillIntentRequest that developers can implement to help Alexa users more easily discover their skills, without having to invoke them by name.
Alexa already uses machine learning to surface skills that can help with your request when you don't know which skill you're looking for. CanFulfillIntentRequest enhances the machine learning technology with information individual skills offer up about their capabilities.
"For example, if a customer asks, 'Alexa, where is the best surfing today near Santa Barbara?' Alexa can use CanFulfillIntentRequest to ask surfing skills whether they can understand and fulfill the request," Amazon's Shiraz Datta explained in a blog post. "A surfing skill with a database of California beaches might be able to both understand and fulfill the request, while one with a database of Hawaiian beaches might only be able to understand it. Based on these responses, Alexa would invoke the skill with the database of California beaches for the customer."
As an Alexa user, this just means you'll be able to find and launch the right skill even quicker, using natural phrases and requests.
Meanwhile, if the skill you want doesn't yet exist, creating it yourself should be easier than ever. Amazon last month introduced more than 20 templates, aka Alexa Skill Blueprints, designed to let anyone easily create customized Alexa skills "within minutes just by filling in the blanks"—no coding experience necessary.
This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.