Amazon on Thursday announced the introduction of kid skills for its Alexa artificial intelligence (AI) assistant, adding that the new features are currently exclusive to users in the United States. The children-oriented skills are defined by Amazon as solutions aimed at people under 13, with the company adding that a number of such services are now already available for download, with the new Alexa-enabled offerings including the likes of Animal Sounds, Old Macdonald, The SpongeBob Challenge, Silly Things, The Tickle Monster Game!, and Sesame Street. The Seattle, Washington-based tech giant said it's expecting the kid skills ecosystem to grow in a rapid manner going forward as many developers have reportedly started working on such services or expressed their interest in doing so shortly.
After downloading a kid skill for Alexa, parents will be asked to grant it the necessary permission in the Alexa app which will require them to verify their identity with Amazon by either entering their credit card security code in their Amazon account or inputting an SMS code they received from the company. This process will allow parents to unlock Alexa's kid skills, i.e. provide their children with the option of accessing those services without having to verify their identities. As expected, revoking permissions to kid skills is as simple as performing a few taps in the Alexa app, Amazon confirmed.
The latest move marks yet another significant expansion for Alexa in terms of its target demographic, with Amazon's AI service having recently been extending its availability to a number of third-party devices. Numerous original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) not affiliated with Amazon are currently at IFA 2017, a Berlin, Germany-based trade show where they're now showcasing their latest Alexa-enabled solutions and are directly contributing to bringing the company's AI ecosystem to more consumers. Amazon is still the leading player in the consumer-facing AI market segment in the United States, according to many industry watchers and data, and the company has recently been hard at work strengthening its product and service portfolio in an effort to maintain that momentum. Its latest piece of Alexa-enabled first-party hardware was the Echo Show, though similar devices are likely to be debuted by the company come 2018.