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Echo owners can now create Alexa skills

Amazon is announcing a new program today that will allow people to create their own games and other programs for their Alexa-powered devices.

Why it matters: The move — part of Amazon's ever-growing expansion plans — could both boost loyalty to Amazon's platform and help people make their own devices more useful.

The details:

  • The so-called "blueprints" can do things like have recorded info for babysitters or house guests, create flash cards and play customized trivia games.
  • Developing traditional Alexa skills requires some amount of coding. At a briefing last month, I was able to write a basic Alexa skill — with some help — in a couple of hours. By contrast, these blueprints allow people to have custom apps in minutes — no coding required.