Alexa will soon provide comprehensive information about contact details and operating hours of businesses, after Amazon partnered with Yext, a firm that manages a platform that enables businesses to identify which facts will be shared to consumers online and already supplies data like addresses, phone numbers, and business hours to Google, Apple, and Facebook. Even though Alexa can already answer questions regarding local businesses with the retail giant’s partnership with consumer review website Yelp, this new collaboration will allow Amazon to access around 30 million facts about more than 1.2 million businesses and locations. Furthermore, it will enable Alexa to supply relevant answers based on the user’s location as long as they provided their addresses to the virtual assistant’s mobile application.
The partnership should also help reduce the gap between Amazon Alexa and other popular virtual assistants, namely Google Assistant and Siri, in terms of the number of correctly answered queries. A recent study conducted by Loup Ventures shows that Alexa was only able to answer 63-percent of questions correctly, compared to the virtual assistants of Google and Apple, which correctly responded to more than 85-percent of questions about local enterprises. Information from Yext should help Alexa answer more queries correctly, although the research firm noted that Amazon’s virtual assistant is still at a disadvantage due to the lack of a deeply integrated maps service.
Amazon has been continuously working to improve its virtual assistant with the addition of useful features ever since launching it. Recently, the retail giant partnered with financial firms Capital One, JP Morgan, and New York Life to develop productivity-focused skills for Alexa, so consumers can now access their bank account and credit card information, as well as obtain real-time market predictions using voice commands. In addition, the virtual assistant’s Android application recently gained the ability to send text messages using voice commands, although this functionality remains limited to users in the United States.