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

Lulu Chang

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.