Let the chaos begin! You can finally create your own Alexa Skills

You can now share your Alexa Skill Blueprints via text, email, or social media

Who says you need to be a developer to create skills for Amazon Alexa? Certainly not Amazon. In April, the company launched Alexa Skill Blueprints, heralded as a new and easy way for anyone and everyone to create customized Alexa functions and responses. And now, Amazon is helping its users share their personalized Alexa Skill Blueprints via email, text, WhatsApp, or social media channels like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. That means that you can now create special skills for your best friend’s birthday and share it with her directly, or create flashcards and share them with a study group.

With the introduction of Blueprints, you can have your favorite smart home assistant answer questions like, “Alexa, who’s the best child in the world?” or have her keep track of family milestones with commands like, “Alexa, open Family Trivia.” Blueprints will allow Alexa users to create experiences that are unique to themselves and their families. Best of all, there is no coding skill needed.

At launch, more than 20 Skill Blueprints were made available, though this number has already grown. In honor of Mother’s Day, Amazon released three new Alexa Skill Blueprints — All About Mom, World’s Best Mom, and Game Show. Similarly, for Father’s Day, Amazon debuted a skills template to celebrate all the wonderful dads in the world.

The skills you choose to create — parent-centric or not — will appear exclusively on the devices registered to your Amazon account, so you won’t have to worry about sharing private information with others.

“Alexa Skill Blueprints is an entirely new way for you to teach Alexa personalized skills just for you and your family,” Steve Rabuchin, vice president of Amazon Alexa, siad in a statement. “You don’t need experience building skills or coding to get started — my family created our own jokes skill in a matter of minutes, and it’s been a blast to interact with Alexa in a totally new and personal way.”

Using Alexa Skill Blueprints promises to be quite straightforward. Users only need to fill in the blank with certain answers, customizing responses to queries like “Alexa, what is the best city?” or “Alexa, who has the best sense of humor?” To get started, you need to visit the Alexa Skill Blueprints website, where you will find the various Blueprints available across four categories: Fun and Games, At Home, Storyteller, and Learning and Knowledge. While each blueprint comes with predetermined content, you can customize them based on your own preferences.

In the Fun and Games category, for example, you can create a Skill filled with favorite family jokes, birthday trivia, and a bachelorette party.

Want to focus on facts and information? Select the Learning and Knowledge category and choose between a Skill called Quiz for open-ended questions, flash cards for any subject to study or test yourself, or Facts to build a Skill containing a list of facts on any topic.

The At Home category could save a lot of time if you build skills for Houseguests, Babysitters, or Pet Sitters. Set up the Skill and then you can edit as information changes. Airbnb hosts and guests could find this skill a major help.

Fancy yourself an author or want to build a collection of your favorite stories with your own friends and family playing major roles? The new Alexa Storytell Skill Blueprint gives you the tools to create and save your own fairytales, sci-fi, fables, or adventure stories.

Amazon is not limiting the number of skills you create, and you can continue to edit your skills as you use them more frequently. For the time being, it would appear that the new function is only available to customers in the U.S., but if it proves popular, it certainly seems likely that Amazon will share the love and bring Alexa Skill Blueprints to further markets.

Updated on June 16: You can now share Blueprints directly via email, text, and social media. 

Smart Home

Amazon Alexa enhancements add geolocation, kids’ Routines, and more

Amazon's digital assistant Alexa continues to evolve and its newest features should appeal to busy people and parents on the go, including location-based routines and reminders as well as Routines aimed toward kids.
Smart Home

How to talk to Santa on Alexa and Google Assistant

Nothing say "holiday" like talking to Santa. Here's how to talk to Santa on Alexa and Google Assistant, whether he's helping you create a playlist or checking to see if you've been naughty or nice this week.
Smart Home

Amazon starts crowdsourcing Alexa’s answers. What could go wrong?

Amazon announced a new resource for its Alexa voice assistant. Alexa Answers is an invitation-only program to which select Amazon customers will be invited to supply brief answers to questions that Alexa was asked but couldn't answer.
Smart Home

'Alexa, how much do you weigh?' Questions unlock voice assistant's Easter eggs

Sometimes all we really need is someone to talk to, which is why we've rounded up the best (read: funniest) Easter eggs currently embedded within Amazon's virtual assistant. Apparently, Alexa knows more than you might think.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Smart Home

Porch pirate problems? Keep them away with these tips and tricks

The holiday season is fast approaching and the packages are arriving on our doorsteps. Are you worried about porch pirates stealing your gifts this holiday season? Here are some tips to help protect your purchases.

Walmart is offering Google Home starter kits for under $50

If you're hoping to save big on Google Home devices before all the holiday deals come to an end, there's no better time than right now. Walmart is slashing prices on smart home starter kits for a limited time.

This freewheeling Army truck-turned-tiny home is a labor of love

Most tiny homes are models of efficiency but one British metal worker has redefined the idea, converting an old Army truck into a mobile tiny home that comes with a bed, a sofa, a shower, and a beer garden.

Clean up with robot vac, upright vacuum, and spot and stain remover deals

Whether you're gift shopping or need to get your house ready for the holidays, deals on household cleaning appliances are always welcome. We found Walmart's best deals on robot vacs, upright vacuum cleaners, and spot and stain cleaners.
Smart Home

Tired of running outdoors? Check out the best treadmills of 2018

Running can burn up to 900 calories per hour, melting away fat and strengthening your muscles.  Compared to running outdoors, you're safer staying indoors on a cushioned track. We've rounded up the best treadmills on the market

Breathe easy, stay warm with Amazon’s one-day deal on a Dyson air purifier fan

Dyson is a leader in bringing consumers the latest in heating, cooling, and air purification. Its Pure Hot + Cool Link HP02 does all three — and for today only, it’s on sale on Amazon for $359. That’s $241 off the suggested retail…
Smart Home

LG is rolling out the barrels at CES 2019 with a craft beer machine

Looking to get into the beer making game? With the help of LG, you can become a brewmaster at home. The electronics maker is rolling out the LG HomeBrew, an at-home beer making machine at CES 2019.

Save big on these Braun electric razors and women’s epilators

Amazon and Walmart are currently offering limited-time deals for Braun electric razors and women's epilators. If you plan to make your way through all the festive parties this year with fresh smooth these tools will help.

The best air fryer deals you can still snag before Christmas

Christmas is closing in on us fast, but you still have a little bit of time left for last-minute kitchen gifts. We've searched the depths of Amazon and Walmart to bring you the best air fryer deals going on right now.