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Thursday, April 06, 2017

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You Can Now Use Any Alexa Skill Without Enabling It

Oyetoke Tobi - Thursday, April 06, 2017

Do you know that you can now use Alexa skill without enabling them? Yes you can with the new update on Alexa.

Alexa Skills have extended and expanded the functionalities of Alexa. Alexa Skills have done what Alexa won’t be able to do normally. They are basically part of what give Alexa-enabled speakers almost never-ending possibilities and a very bright future.
With the new update, you no longer need to manually enable Alexa skills before you use can them. All you need to do is to tell Alexa to open a new skill and it will find, enable and open it with just a single command.

Amazon becomes conscious of this issue and has been making efforts to make skills a priority, not by only making it easier for developers to build their own skills, but by also making them more accessible to users and easy to use. For example, Amazon has made its own skill to help users discover new skills.

Amazon upgraded Alexa Skills by removing some of the difficulties in finding and using new skills. You no longer require enabling skills before you can use them.

How to use any skill on Alexa without Enabling it

You have always had to enable skills manually before you can use them. This is a stark difference to third-party services on the Google Home, which all work out of the box, with no setup or enabling required.

Formerly, to enable a skill on Alexa, you had to head over to alexa.amazon.com from a web browser or simply open the Alexa app on an iOS or Android device, navigate to the Skills menu and browse through the catalog until you find the skill you are looking for. Then you'd have to open the skill page and tap on the “Enable” yellow button.

This process felt disorganized and tiresome for a device that is almost totally controlled by voice, until June 2016, when Amazon made it possible for you to enable skills using your voice. You could simply say, "Alexa, enable Domino's" or "Alexa, enable LIFX." Then Alexa will enable it without any hitch.

Amazon made it even easier to use skills by successfully removing the enable skill process altogether, last week. So all you need to do now to use a skill is to just say, "Alexa, open [skill name]."
It may sound elusive, perhaps even flimsy difference. However, this removes an entire step from the process and condenses two steps into one. So, Alexa will find the skill, enable and open it, all with just a single voice command.

You can't ask a skill to do something complex if it is the first time you want to use it. Chances are, Alexa won't find any skill or it will completely ignore your additional request. For example, I manually disabled the The Bartender skill and tried saying, "Alexa, ask The Bartender what's in an old-fashioned." Alexa, found the skill and opened it, however it completely ignored the part about the old-fashioned.

After you've used the skill once, it will be enabled on your account and you can use any of its voice commands.

Furthermore, if you need to login to a skill in order to connect your account such as the Fitbit skill, you’ll still need to head over to the page for that skill in the Alexa app and log in. If not, you can use any available skills instantly.

In addition, if there happen to be some skills with similar names, Alexa will give you the option to select which one you want to open. For example, if you say, "Alexa, open Ambient Noise," Alexa will ask if you want Rain Sounds, Thunderstorm Sounds or Ocean Sounds.

Sadly, this doesn't address one of the problems that came to light when Amazon added the ability to enable skills by voice: because you’ll still need to know the name of a skill or what you're looking for before you’ll be able to use it. So while this seems like a step in the right direction for getting more people to use Alexa skills, it still means you'll probably need to spend your time in the Alexa app looking for new skills rather than just saying out random skills.



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