Amazon’s Alexa voice platform now has more than 15,000 skills — Amazon’s term for voice-based apps — up from the 10,000 skills Amazon officially announced in February, according to TechCrunch. By comparison, Google Home had 378 voice apps available as of June 30, according to a Voicebot report. Microsoft’s Cortana has 65.
A total of 2,776 new Alexa skills were added in June alone, 37 times more than Google Assistant.
Of the skills, 20% are "flash briefings," which are information-based skills that are relatively easy to develop, according to Voicebot. Flash briefings include snippets of news from NPR and The Washington Post, for example.
Amazon knows how to take a market by storm. Alexa is so far ahead of its competitors in the voice computing space, it may soon have the kind of market penetration enjoyed by Amazon Web Services in the cloud market. Amazon has been working hard to get there, offering a number of tools and incentives designed to get developers to build, build, build.
But whether or not those 15,000 skills are truly useful to Alexa users remains to be seen. News and information-focused voice apps are the most popular skills, but those are pretty barebones offerings that won’t ensure Alexa remains ahead of the pack. And, Alexa is not yet quite as smart as it’s competitors. An April assessment of digital personal assistants conducted by Stone Temple found Google Assistant on Google Home appeared to be the smartest, answering 68.1% of questions, with more than 90% of the answers complete and correct. Alexa only answered 20.7% of questions, but it answered questions completely and correctly 87% of the time.
The true payoff for these devices will come from the enterprise market, with full integration into corporate work flows. Businesses are already experimenting with how to incorporate conversational UIs into the workplace to help to simple tasks, alleviating busy work to focus on the bigger picture.