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Amazon opens up Alexa metrics and location-based features to developers

Alex Spencer

Amazon has added two new features for developers building Alexa skills – the equivalent of apps for its AI assistant.

The newly-introduxed Device Address API enables skills to request and access the device's configured address, in order to customise their voice experience. This API can be used for interactions ranging from delivery to directions, but also gives developers access to information on the location of their most active users.

This all requires the user's consent, naturally, with skills able to request two levels of data: full address, or just country and postal code. Perhaps surprisingly, consent is requested – and can only be given – within the Alexa app, rather than by voice. If the user doesn't use the app before calling up the skill with their voice, by default  it has no access to their data.

The API has already been trialled by Accuweather, which uses it to deliver local weather info; Just Eat, to know where food would be delivered to; and German retail chain Real, which serves up the opening hours and discounts of nearby stores.

The second feature is a metrics dashboard for skills, available in the developer portal. This includes information on number of unique customers and sessions, as well as utterances – the number of things a user said to Alexa while using a skill, which can be broken down by intent and failed requests.