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Amazon Echo and Google Home customers are not using the vast catalogue of third-party apps
Amazon Echo and Google Home might have a problem.
New research from industry startup VoiceLabs claims Amazon Echo and Google Home owners are not using the huge selection of third-party apps available for both platforms.
According to the report, there is only a three per cent chance those who download third-party skills for the Amazon Echo or Google Home will continue to use them after two weeks.
For comparison, Android and iOS apps have a retention rate of some 13 per cent and 11 per cent, respectively, one week after the first installation.
At launch, Alexa boasted more than 3,000 individual capabilities, dubbed Skills.
Third-party developers are able to integrate their own software and products with the Amazon Echo. HIVE, SmartThings, BMW, and Spotify have already updated their software to take advantage of the smart speaker. But according to the VoiceLabs research, which was conducted in the United States, 69 per cent of the 7,000-plus Skills available for Alexa currently boast one or fewer customer reviews.
VoiceLabs has published a range of data about the Amazon Echo and Google Home
This is another signal that Amazon Echo customers might not be taking full advantage of the ecosystem building around the smart home device.
“There are lots of [voice] apps out there, but they are zombie apps,” VoiceLabs co-founder Adam Marchick told technology blog Re/Code in an interview.
In our review of the Amazon Echo, we highlighted some of the problems with using third-party Skills with the device.
There is a very specific formula when using third-party apps with the Amazon Echo.
For example, to order a taxi with Uber on the Amazon Echo, you'll need to say "Alexa, ask Uber to request a ride."
Or to use the Bartender skill, you'll need to ask – "Alexa, ask the bartender, how do I make a Sex On The Beach?"
Google Home is not currently available in the UK
Remembering to structure your requests in this fashion can be a little arduous.
It also makes using the Amazon Echo a little less intuitive – especially when compared to the in-built functionality, which you can use by simply asking "Alexa, play some music", or "Alexa, set a timer for two minutes".
We also commented on the quality of apps in the Amazon Echo skill store during our review.
"The charts are clogged with bucketloads of junky apps with no customer ratings that you’ll never actually want to enable on your Amazon Echo speaker," we wrote.
"While there may be 3,000 Skills available at launch. There are definitely not 3,000 high-quality, must-have Skills available for your new Echo."
Amazon Echo launched in the UK last year, and supports thousands of third-party apps
It is also possible to add third-party apps to the Google Home.
Dubbed Actions for Google Assistant, the apps are very similar to Skills for Amazon's Alexa speakers, allowing third-party developers to integrate their apps and services with the talkative speakers.
Actions for Google Assistant let you order a Dominos' Pizza, request a taxi with Uber or play games.
However, the research by VoiceLabs was not wholly negative.
VoiceLabs writes, "in 2015, there were 1.7 million voice-first devices shipped. In 2016, there were 6.5 million devices shipped."
"In 2017, VoiceLabs predicts there will be 24.5 million devices shipped, leading to a total device footprint of 33 million voice-first devices in circulation."
- Express.co.uk has approached Amazon and Google for comment on this story.