This week Amazon and Buzzfeed announced a partnership that brings thousands of Buzzfeed Tasty’s famous quick-play social videos to Amazon’s video-enabled digital assistants.
According to email sent to The Spoon, here’s how it works: First ask Alexa to find a recipe by saying something like, “Alexa, find pork recipes from Tasty.” Alexa will then show you options, and you can tell the device which recipe to select by saying something like, “Alexa, select recipe number three.”
From there, say, “Alexa, start recipe” and Alexa will read off each step in the recipe as well as list them on the left-hand side of the screen of the Echo Show. It will also show a looping video of the recipe on the right. You can also ask Alexa to read off ingredients by saying “Alexa, read ingredients” and add it to a shopping list by saying “Alexa, add to shopping list.”
I wish I could tell you how well it works, but at the time of this writing I couldn’t get either of my Echo Show devices to actually find Buzzfeed Tasty recipes. The new feature is supposed to be available to anyone in the U.S. with an Echo Show as of this week, so I assume I will be able to access the program over the next few days as the kinks are worked out.
Too bad, since I am very curious about how well turning a Buzzfeed Tasty recipe into a more instructional/step-by-step format on a screen will work. Like many, I’ve watched a lot of Buzzfeed recipes online but have never actually cooked to one of them, in part because they seem designed more for entertainment than to be functional. Putting them onto the Echo Show could change that, so I’ll update this post once I can actually cook with one.
One thing that struck me about this integration is that it is simply turned on and available to work (once it works) for anyone with an Echo Show. This is different from earlier Alexa Echo Show integrations like that of Allrecipes, which required the user to add as an Alexa Skill.
My suspicion is that Amazon is having trouble getting people to add new skills to their voice assistants, so at this point the company is, in some cases, just doing it for the consumer. Makes sense, actually, since a “cloud computer” like Alexa isn’t exactly short on storage. That and it just seems a bit more magical if you one day could just ask Alexa to do something and she does it rather than going through an “add skill” extra-step.
I am also curious how the “add to shopping list” feature works. This news follows an integration with Walmart (via shoppable recipe platform Northfork) that allows Tasty app users to make recipes shoppable by adding them their Walmart shopping lists and online grocery carts. The Alexa/Tasty integration doesn’t quite look like it takes recipes all the way to the Amazon cart, but if I know Amazon, I expect that will eventually change.