Amazon.com Inc’s chief technology officer is working toward a day when people can control almost any piece of software with their voice. The company on Wednesday rolled out the technology powering Alexa, its voice assistant that competes with Apple Inc’s Siri, to developers so they can build chat features into their apps, CTO Werner Vogels said in an interview. The service, Amazon Lex, was in a pre-survey phase since late 2016. Earlier, Amazon India had apparently planning to penetrate the Grocery Stores.
The move emphasizes how Amazon Lex is racing to be the top player in voice-controlled computing, after suffering out in mobile to Apple and Alphabet Inc’s Google. Vogels told that Amazon’s headway in processing how humans write and speak would make conversational assistants or “chatbots” more significant than the clunky tools they’ve been in the past.
“There’s extensive acceleration happening here,” he said before speaking at Amazon’s cloud-computing consummation in San Francisco. “The fashionable thing about having this running as a service in the cloud instead of in your data center or on your desktop is that we can make Lex better continuously by the millions of customers that are using it.” Amit Agarwal earlier had stated that Amazon wants to become everything for everyone.
Processing vast quantities of evidence are key to artificial intelligence, which lets voice supporters decode speech. Amazon Lex will take the text and report people send to apps to train Lex as well as Alexa to understand more queries. That could support Amazon catch up in data collection. As successful as Amazon’s Alexa-powered devices are, such as Echo speakers, the company has sold an estimated 10 million or more. Apple has traded hundreds of millions of iPhones and other devices with Siri.
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Vogels announced people use Alexa for many tasks, from helping them cook to playing music, while they talk to assistants on their phones in scattered scenarios like when driving a car. As with additional cloud-based services, Amazon Lex will charge developers based on how many text or voice entreats Lex processes.
Still, the highest payoff may come from e-commerce, which has already attracted many to build chatbots. Amazon Lex launched offering Alexa-only shopping deals to encourage purchases by voice, and Facebook Inc this week said its virtual assistant, called M, can help users order food from delivery.com. “Voice is a huge part of the computer interface of the future,” said Gene Munster, a veteran equity analyst and now head of research at Loup Ventures. “Whoever recognizes voice will be the gateway of commerce.”