Think of Alexa Skills as mini-commands. They're tailored to one action — such as ordering take-out or preparing for a natural disaster. They can range from useful to fun, and now you can make your own Alexa Skills without any coding experience required.
Amazon released a new feature called Blueprints, which streamlines Alexa Skills down to a fill-in-the-blank set of commands. You can't really make any skill you want: you have to choose between one of 20 options in four different categories: Fun & Games, At Home, Storyteller and Learning & Knowledge.
You log-in with your Amazon Alexa account, and can either use one of the pre-filled Alexa Skills, or change some details to tailor your Alexa Skill to just your need. Don't expect anything too complex, but there are useful options including a Pet Sitter, Babysitter and Houseguest blueprints — which we think would be ideal for an Airbnb landlord.
Using Alexa Blueprint is as simple as typing — no coding skills needed
Making a blueprint for a Pet Sitter took about two minutes, with just nine basic fields to fill-in with answers for questions including "Alexa, How do I feed the dog?" And, "Alexa, Where is the dog food?"
You can absolutely add more items — as many as you want it seems. Under the 'How to do things' tab, we were able to add an additional 21 tasks and it appeared we could add more. Perhaps your dog has a favorite toy, or treats you hide in a bin above the stove, or a smart dog feeder that needs special instructions. Or maybe your cat's catnip obsession needs to be limited to just one afternoon a week, on Tuesdays. Yes, you can add all of that to your blueprint.
Alexa Blueprints are private to your account — and not shared to the entire Alexa user community
When you're done, the Alexa Skill is saved to your account — and can only be accessed and used by you, and played over your Alexa-device like an Echo Dot. That's probably great since you're personalizing this to your space for some of these blueprints. But others let your write your own Fairy Tale, create a Quiz and even a joke list. Let's just say, because these are saved to your Alexa account, so don't expect your writing talent to get discovered.
Don't forget to visit GearBrain's What Works with Amazon Alexa to see the connected devices that work with Amazon Echo and Alexa enabled devices.