Amazon's Alexa voice assistant can now be used to control or interact with some apps on Android and iOS. That's according to a recently-reported announcement from the company, detailing new developer tools for the AI platform. One of those, called Alexa for Apps is now available in "Preview" and allows just such functionality. And it's already in use for some applications.
Specifically, Amazon notes that it will already work with TikTok, Uber, Yellow Pages, and Sonic. It's also already testing the feature with Zynga, Volley, and others. But what, exactly, that means for end-users will vary quite a bit from app to app.
What does Alexa for apps do?
For TikTok, Amazon says that the feature is somewhat limited. At least for now. Amazon points out that users can ask Alexa to start a recording in the somewhat controversial app and Alexa will interact with the app to make that happen. In effect, opening the app to the recording segment and starting that up.
Alexa can be used to control apps such as Sonic and Uber to similar ends. With the former, Alexa let users see the menu quickly without having to pick up their phone. Or if they just want to use their voice instead of their thumbs. Uber, conversely, will allow users to access where the drive is on a map with just their voice after they've scheduled a ride.
The feature won't work across all Alexa-enabled devices though. Amazon indicates it will explicitly work with the associated app, phones that have Alexa built-in, or mobile-specific accessories.
This is still early access so it's not necessarily coming soon
Now, as noted above, this is still an early preview feature for Alexa. So there aren't going to be many other apps that are supported just yet. Developers will need to sign up for early access at this point in order to take advantage of it. And end-users will need to wait longer still before they see it more often in the wild.
Once in place, Alexa will be able to use core functionality across any app that's enabled Alexa for Apps. But there's been no timeline given for when the feature will leave its 'preview' phase at this time.