Amazon's voice-powered personal assistant Alexa has been getting a bit of attention lately, especially among the home automation crowd experimenting with the Echo smart speaker. The device is able to to answer basic questions around information, weather, news and music and control other gadgets. But a big part of the appeal is that it allows for third-party integrations so you can use your voice to order anything from a pizza to an Uber.
If you've been wondering what it's like to use the Amazon Echo but didn't want to commit to buying one before trying it out, good news: you can now play with Alexa right in your browser.
The company today launched a new website called echosim.io that simulates having an Echo. After logging in with an Amazon account, anyone can start asking Alexa questions by clicking and holding on the mic button, and though it's more limited than the real deal, its simplicity makes it easy for anyone to understand what an Echo is and what it does.
But beyond curious users the simulator is primarily aimed at developers. The company hopes developers worldwide can use echosim.io to access it and test their Alexa "skills" – the equivalent of apps for smartphones. Amazon offers three step-by-step tutorials to help you build your first Alexa skill in under an hour.