Amazon’s AI assistant Alexa is going to feature branded content in its responses as a part of a new update. This means there’ll be more direct responses from Alexa instead of redirecting users to search results.
When users ask Alexa a general question, it redirects them to Google’s first page results. While this is helpful in many cases, it undermines the AI Assistant aspect of Amazon Alexa. Under the latest update, Alexa will search for branded responses from its database of branded content, and deliver answers. According to Amazon, it’ll be equivalent to a friend or acquaintance giving a brand suggestion.
Amazon also claims that it will use content from domain-leading brands to answer user questions directly. For instance, if someone asks How to clean carpets, Alexa will fetch the answer from a top cleaning products company.
Touted Customers Ask Alexa, this feature will make Amazon Alexa more intuitive and responsive. According to the General Manager of Alexa Shopping Rajiv Mehta, this feature will give buyers valuable information to make better purchasing decisions.
For now, Amazon will obtain and deliver answers from only select brands. It’ll be an invite-only program for eligible brands only.
While there are positives to this feature, it’s hard to overlook the undeniable problematic elements. It raises questions about user data and how much of it Amazon is going to collect and distribute to its partner brands. The drive towards branding content and responses is not universally well-received, and for good reasons. For now, we can only speculate about the effect this might have on Alexa sales figures.