On Friday, Amazon’s Alexa surpassed 8,000 skills available for users. We have been seeing Alexa skill growth of about 1,000 per month since August. The big difference now is that the rise between 7,000 and 8,000 skills was just over 1/2 a month at 17 days. That is a notable acceleration in new skill launches.
Are the Skills Toys or Really Useful
David Beisel of NextView Ventures accurately noted in a recent Voicebot interview that many of these skills are toys. He has a point. Recent skills include “unauthorized” trivia for the Red Sox and Yankees along with Cat facts. However, the number of higher quality skills that are not toys is definitely increasing. Since Voicebot.ai broke the news that Amazon had surpassed 7,000 skills on the first day of CES, skills have been launched by Ford, Golf Channel and Arxiv, which reads out abstracts of the most recent research papers in artificial intelligence.
This pattern is similar to the growth of the web in the 1990’s. There were a few high quality information sites complemented by many that provided diversion but not utility. The key takeaway here is that Alexa has a lot of momentum. We saw that with third-party devices demonstrating Alexa integration at CES this month and we are seeing it every day from third-party developers introducing new skills.