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Amazon rejects Alexa skill that responded with 'Ok Google'

Instead of using Alexa-based exit phrase, the game skill triggered a Google Home variation of the app with 'Ok Google' phrase.

  • Published: February 1, 2018 10:00 AM IST
Amazon Alexa App feat

Recently, an Alexa skill developer submitted an app that wrongfully responded with “Ok Google” as its skill, the company promptly rejected it.

Developer Jo Jaquinta developed an Alexa game skill called Mind Maze which was ideally supposed to remind users upon exit from the app about how to relaunch the skill by saying something on the lines of, “to play again, say ‘Alexa open Mind Maze.’” The skill instead triggered the response which Jacquinta had created for the Google Home variation of the app, which was “If you enjoy card games, you can say ‘OK Google, talk to 21 Blackjack'”, TechCrunch reports.

The embarrassing situation evidently had to be contained and Amazon rejected the particular skill. A reviewer of the skill wrote that the actual result as one which promoted Google Home by saying ‘OK Google’ when user utters Stop or Cancel, and the expected result as the skill should not promote Google Home.

Following the report, an Amazon spokesperson said that the language the reviewer used was incorrect. “We reviewed the skill and determined that the incorrect name could lead to customer confusion and did not accurately portray the skill functionality. The certification representative’s response was an error.” The spokesperson further added,”We do not ban the usage of brand names, although we do strive to ensure that trademarks and intellectual property are used properly.”

Although Amazon is saying the incorrect phrase could have led to user confusion or made the skill buggy, it somewhere also implies that the company does not want to advertise the rival product as the developer skills agreement no where explicitly prohibits the mention of rival services or software.

The voice-based smart speakers are among industry’s newest fads. However, they’ve found themselves to be in a state of controversy as well. Recently, Google drew flak for its Google Home speaker not responding to queries on Jesus Christ. As a result, the company disabled responses on religious queries. Google said the speaker’s response of, “I’m not sure how to help you with that”, when asked about who Jesus or Christ was, wasn’t out of disrespect but instead to ensure respect.

Meanwhile, a bored parrot mimicked its owner’s voice instructing Alexa to place an order on Amazon. The five-year-old African grey called Buddy impersonated the owner when she was out, and placed the order using the Amazon Echo smart speaker. Buddy activated the speaker, and in its own gibberish way was able to place the order of a set of gift boxes worth $13.50 (Rs 870 approximately).

  • Published Date: February 1, 2018 10:00 AM IST