BBC launches full voice service for Echo devices

Dan Seifert  The Verge

Dan Seifert The Verge

There are 10 national, six United Kingdom and 40 local radio stations on offer, plus thousands of hours of podcasts now on the service. However, its latest skill is more fully fledged and enables you to listen to live radio shows and its entire line-up of podcasts on demand, started by using your voice.

The Alexa Skill gives access to live and on demand content from the BBC's 10 national, 6 United Kingdom nations and 40 local radio stations as well as BBC World Service Radio. Last Friday, the Amazon Music Unlimited streaming service and the Echo smart speaker became available in no less than 28 additional countries. Amazon announced that its Music Unlimited service, and consequently its Echo smart speaker, has now expanded to 28 more countries.

So instead of just asking Alexa to set an alarm for you, you'll be able to request specific songs, playlists, artists, or genres to get you out of bed in the morning. User can also "Play", "Pause" and "Resume" everything they're listening to. "They're a natural fit for the BBC as millions of people enjoy and rely on our audio programmes every day", said Matthew Postgate, the BBC's chief technology and product officer.

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On Amazon Music, users can ask Alexa to set a musical alarm based on just a couple lyrics.

The new BBC voice service adds to BBC content already available via smart speakers, including the primary news briefing on Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant. If Amazon is going to make the Echo Spot a viable alarm clock, it needs to give the device better functionality than that 20-year-old clock radio sitting on your nightstand.

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