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Amazon Alexa Shifting Its Focus on Beta Testing Crowdsourced Answers

Amazon smart devices sit on display during an unveiling event at the Amazon.com Inc. Spheres headquarters in Seattle, Washington, U.S., on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. Amazon.com Inc. unveiled its vision for smart homes powered by the Alexa voice assistant, with a dizzying array of new gadgets and features for almost every room in the house -- from a microwave oven to a security camera and wall clock. Photographer: Andrew Burton/Bloomberg via Getty Images

On Friday, Amazon made an official announcement that it has started beta testing all the Alexa Answers, which is an exclusive invitation-only project for users to add their responses for questions that can’t be answered by Alexa alone.

Around 1 lakh responses have been added to the Alexa Answers beta program after Amazon rolled it out last month. As per the report, these answers seemed to have been used more than a million times.

From today onwards, few selected customers who might have received mail invitations from Amazon can participate through Alexa Answers websites. All the users are free to browse through the multiple categories that are present on the site and then select the questions to add appropriate answers to it. These questions are a consolidated list of those unanswered questions, which were previously asked by customers who have been using Alexa since its inception. Once the question is answered by a customer, those answers may then be attributed as “an Amazon customer”.

We are still unclear if it is a good idea or a bad idea. Amazon has put up some sample questions on its explanatory page wherein questions like “Where was Barbara Bush buried?” were put up. Few customers found these questions a tad bit strange since almost all of the questions can be found by Alexa through its Bing-powered search engine that is capable of collecting information from multiple sources.

Nonetheless, the initiative taken by Amazon to launch Alexa answers program is a positive sign towards the growth of the app. It also means that Amazon wants to make doubly sure that they are able to deliver appropriate answers to their customers, which happens to be more authentic than Wikipedia pages.

Few members of Amazon also reported that the submitted answers are supposed to be moderated through multiple users who will be allowed to vote the answers up or down depending upon the accuracy and use of the answers. The answers will be limited to 300 characters so that the users can keep their answers brief. If you are wondering about the answers that contain offensive language, then fret not as Amazon has taken care of it by applying filters that avoid the visibility of such comments.

The program is officially launching today. Let us know if you have got an invite to it yet!! Happy answering!