Last week, Amazon debuted a new device location API that gives Alexa skills access to the location data in a consumer’s device settings, a move which could unleash a new wave of skill-powered food delivery services.
According to the developer documentation, the new API (application programming interface) will require that the user to give consent for the data when the request is made for the data. There are two levels of data granularity available: the full address (street location, city, state, zip) or country and postal code only. When a user enables a skill that requests access to location data, they will be prompted to give approval in the Alexa app (it cannot be done with voice alone), an extra step that provides an obvious safeguard to ensure the privacy of the consumer.
There’s a good chance the new location API could help add some excitement to what appears to be some pretty bare shelves when it comes to skill-powered food delivery. While there are approximately 268 or so food and drink related skills available to US users of Alexa, only 13 of these today are related to food delivery, and most of those are for things such as pizza delivery or Amazon’s own restaurant delivery service. With the new location API, it’s conceivable that a new wave of third party food delivery service related skills will be born.
Amazon gave early access to the new device location API to Just Eat, a UK based food delivery service provider with 27 thousand restaurant partners. By using the device location API, the Just Eat Alexa skill will be able to better optimize restaurant selection based on the customer’s location.
In related news, Amazon also announced a new skills dashboard, which will allow skill developers to better analyze trends, visualizations and pull away insights around aggregate skill usage. One of those new data sets they will be able to analyze in the future will be location trends, which would be useful for food delivery companies which want to know what neighborhoods are more likely to use Alexa skill ordering vs more traditional methods.
All of this fits into my theory that Amazon is shifting its connected home commerce focus towards Alexa and away from Dash, which seems to have stagnated in terms of new adopters. More thoughts on that later.