Can you all believe that it's already Friday? Can you also believe that the world wide web turned 30 this week?! Here's our weekly voice-first and related topics news round up.

March 9-15, 2019

Amazon: Killer Apps, Alexa Developer Rewards expansion, and Customized Alexa Skills for Auto

3/11/19 The subject of the voice killer app ignited some interesting online conversations after Bloomberg published the article “Amazon’s Alexa has 80,000 Apps—and No Runaway Hit.” also published an article touching on the topic, which included a different angle on the matter supported by data and analysis.  This all caught Alexa Chief Evangelist Dave Isbitskis’ attention, who in response Tweeted “Alexa IS the killer app.”

3/12/19 Amazon has announced that they are expanding their Alexa Developer Rewards program to France, Italy, and Spain. What does this mean? That skill developers can now make money every month for eligible skills that garner the highest customer engagement in these countries. The rewards program already exists in the US, UK, Germany, Japan, and India. (Alexa Blogs)

3/13/19 Amazon has been busy with announcements this week, among these, they’ve announced that they will now allow developers to customize Alexa skills for use in the car. In their message to developers, they’ve stated: "Now you can adapt your skill experience to be succinct, location-aware, and adaptive to your customer’s needs while they’re outside the home." (Alexa Blogs)

Apple: Latest Acquisition in ML

3/13/19 Apple continues making strides in the AI, ML, and voice-first space, this time, by announcing that they’ve  acquired Laserlike, a machine learning startup founded by former Google engineers. This is Apple's latest deal to grow its artificial intelligence efforts. (Venture Beat)

Google: WWW Doodle, and Continued Conversation now Available on Assistant

3/12/19 March 12th marked the 30th anniversary of the invention of the world wide web (not to be confused with the internet!) by tech visionary Tim Berners-Lee for this occasion Google offered us a two-fer: a commemorative Google Doodle and an Editorial Feature titled "The World Wide Web: The Invention That Connected The World."

3/9/19 Google has added Continued Conversation to Assistant-powered smart displays making Google Assistant a lot more user friendly. A note to readers: Continued Conversation is toggled off by default. To turn it on, open the Google Home app and tap Account > Settings > Assistant > Continued Conversation. (Forbes)


3/11/19 New analysis presented at the London Book Fair Quantum says New York Times Best Sellers will lose $17 M in 2019 due to voice search issues. Google Assistant leads the pack, while Apple's Siri ends last among the voice assistants tested. (

3/12/19 Billionaire investor Mark Cuban believes that the future is voice-first. He sees that there’s a huge opportunity in developing skills for Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home. During an interview at South by Southwest 2019, he stated, “If I were going to start a business today, I’d build it around Alexa and Google Home.” (CNBC Tech)

3/13/19 The Wall Street Journal reports that Pandora has already begun selling ad space to voice for brands targeted to Echo and Google smart speakers.

Alexa Tip: Did you know that you can use Alexa's blue ring as a night light? Enable the "Night Light"skill and instruct it how long you'd like it on. To turn it off simply say, "Alexa, off."

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