Alexa Skill Or Google Assistant Action – Comparison and Beginner’s Guide
The voice revolution is gaining traction, and an increasing number of developers are intrigued by this new platform. It is a unique platform, that allows for a new kind of interaction. Yes, you’ve heard this many times before – a new gesture on your mobile app, a new UI element, even a new configuration of buttons on your phone – all prompt this message. Your ears are deaf to it, and much like banner blindness it slides below your radar.
But This Is Different. Voice is a completely different modal than vision, and the interaction with your users will be qualitatively different than previously known. Think about how easy it is for you to go through a list of recipes on your phone, and now close your eyes and imagine being read this list, item after item. Quite frustrating, isn’t it? On the other hand, think about your neighbors in the cafe, that seem to exchange a million words per minute, just when you need to concentrate. Now try typing that fast, and one of the biggest advantages of Voice will be clear to you – talking is so much easier and comfortable than typing, allowing for longer, more elaborate dialogues with your users. So, let’s give this Voice thing a go, and build a Voice App or VApp. Inspiration can be drawn from the thousands of VApps, Amazon Alexa Skills as well as Google Assistant Actions, found on voiceapp.store.
There are several platforms for building and deploying your VApp, and we will focus on the biggest two. There are two additional players in the VApps space – Microsoft with Cortana skills, and Apple with Siri Shortcuts. They are much smaller and we will devote a separate post to them.
Amazon’s Alexa is currently the biggest in terms of existing VApps. Alexa is a software platform that is incorporated into smart speakers (mainly Echo and Echo Dot) and many other real world appliances, and the apps it runs are called Skills. There are currently tens of thousands of Skills, and developing one will enable you to interact with the users of more than 100 million Alexa devices in the US alone. You can choose BluePrints, Alexa’s easy to use tool for developing Skills, or you can opt to build through Alexa’s SDK called ASK for more robust capabilities. Making money through your Alexa Skill is possible through selling goods or subscriptions on your VApp. Amazon integration is rather straight forward and initial word is that conversion rates are higher than mobile, though probably more data is needed for a stable verdict. At voiceapp.store you can easily search, filter and find your favorite VApp – Alexa skill or Google Assistant Actions.
Google’s Assistant Actions carry a slightly different philosophy. The assistant is also incorporated into smart speakers, but their numbers are dwarfed by it’s Android integration, bringing your VApp to over a billion people. This integration sees Google Assistant as a conversational platform to be shared across and integrated into many of Google’s assets, the biggest being Search and the latest being Google Chrome. Building a Google Assistant Action, which currently number in the order of magnitude lower than Amazon Skills’, can be easily done through templates provided by Google, or for more robust capabilities use the Action on Google Developer Platform. Monetizing through your Google Assistant Action is possible through selling goods and subscriptions, and one of the strong suites you will find is a rather streamlined integration with Google Sign-In that makes identity management much easier. However, it’s integration with Google Play Store poses restriction on what you can sell.
So, which one to choose? We touched upon the advantages and disadvatanges of each platform, and provided some references that will help you learn more. However, it seems that “Both” is the the best answer. Think of iOS vs. Android – could you choose to develop only for one? When you feel you want to share your VApp with the world, whether it’s an Alexa Skill or Google Assistant Action, you can upload it to voiceapp.store, and get your own page to design and promote it.
Please feel free to browse for your favorite content, game or utility on our site, or upload your VApp to help it reach more users. We hold both Amazon Alexa Skills and Google Assistant Actions, so if you’re a developer or marketer you can claim your VApp or upload it. You’ll get your own page to create your brand feeling and maintain your messaging in one place for all your voice presence.