Amazon Echo smartens up about businesses in your back yard

26 Oct 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Amazon Echo Now Linked To Yelp.

Amazon’s Echo device has been pretty popular among users and Amazon is in no mood to stop making it more awesome than it already is: Amazon is now going to incorporate Yelp’s search results in Echo.Specifically, the new feature will allow Amazon Echo users to ask for information on local businesses and restaurants and get details spoken back to them in the same way Echo delivers product and weather information.

It’s such an obvious feature it’s hard to believe it wasn’t already there, but the latest update for Amazon’s Echo lets it pull up Yelp recommendations for restaurants and other local businesses.On Amazon.com, the “What’s New” section in the description of Amazon Echo — the company’s voice-enabled robotic assistant — now includes mention that “Alexa’s” (the name for the voice that Echo generates) answers to inquiries about locals businesses will come “straight from Yelp.” As explained on the site, Echo owners who wish to enable the Yelp-linked service will have to provide their address in the settings of their device, thus enabling it to provide location-based recommendations from Yelp. So in effect, if a user inquires from the virtual assistant, Alexa, about the best restaurants in your particular locality, then Alexa is going to fetch results from Yelp’s rating system, in addition to many other advantages that will come with Yelp search results incorporation in Echo.

Just ask about info on where to get Chinese food or pizza delivery, and it will send the Yelp-powered results to the Echo app on your phone or tablet. Remember when Amazon released the new Echo Bluetooth speaker, that cylindrical-shaped speaker which you can carry out in your backpack, able to fire up your favorite tunes anywhere, anytime? An example of what is now possible includes asking general questions like “What businesses or restaurants are nearby?” You can then follow that question up by asking Alexa (the Echo device’s voice assistant app) for the address, phone number or hours of operation of the business.

While the Amazon Echo hasn’t exactly been flying off the shelves, the robotic assistant named Alexa will now give out answers to any questions regarding local businesses straight from Yelp. So if you’re just about to hop in the car to head out to a new thai spot, you can quickly ask Alexa what time they close to make sure you’re not in for an unpleasant surprise. And if you want to see the Yelp reviews for the various businesses you look up, you can simply open the Alexa app and view detailed comments and star ratings. Even though Alexa is not the most popular robotic assistant, you can rest assured that she will give you up to date information that comes directly from Yelp. Just ask: ‘Alexa, what are the hours for a nearby pharmacy?’” Regarding the implications of Echo’s Yelp integration, Mashable puts forth a theory that MPD CEO Karen Webster has previously recommended as a wise move for Amazon: the eCommerce giant may be getting closer to outright acquiring the local business search platform.

As Webster opined back in January, for Amazon to enable Amazon payments within all of Yelp’s businesses, could potentially bring a number of mutual benefits, including, for Amazon, the ability to extend its mPOS solution, and, for Yelp, an extended commerce strategy that goes beyond advertising and sponsored pages. Yelp is an online search service that is able to provide information about small businesses and it can also help you get online reservations via the SeatMe online service.

However, if the Echo can pull it off for most people, then Amazon would be well on its way to becoming the first company to have a voice recognition software that works wonderfully. However, all such theories, the outlet notes, may be all for naught, if recent reports (such as one from The Street) that Yelp is no longer for sale are to be believed.

A pairing with Yelp would not only sharpen Amazon’s local consumer focus, but it might also help the company solve that pesky problem of how to deal with fake reviews, an issue that Yelp seems to have handled with some success. The product got off to a rocky start at first, but steady updates like this have added new functionality, like traffic reports, sports scores, and perhaps most interestingly, highly-adaptable IFTTT integration.

You can also take advantage of some new IFTTT triggers built into the Echo, which will allow your device to trigger an action after an Echo alarm or timer goes off. It seems that if Amazon is willing to allow payments in the range of all the businesses that Yelp handles, this could bring a huge number of benefits. In order to active this feature, install the new update on your device, click on settings, scroll down until you see Alexa app, select current device and then click on the option to add you address.

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