There’s one word that Alexa just doesn’t want to hear from its developers: Google.
According to TechCrunch, Jo Jaquinta, an Amazon developer, discovered this after submitting a voice app to Amazon and accidentally forgot to take out some wording that was used in the Google Home version.
Jaquinta’s Alexa game skill, Mind Maze, was supposed to include a relaunch reminder to users, saying something like, “to play again, say ‘Alexa open Mind Maze.'” Instead, he accidentally used the response he had built for Google Home, saying “If you enjoy card games, you can say ‘OK Google, talk to 21 Blackjack’…”
The result: The skill was rejected because an Alexa skill “should not promote Google Home.”
“Actual result: The skill promotes Google Home by saying ‘OK Google’ when user utters Stop or Cancel. Expected result: The skill should not promote Google Home,” wrote the reviewer.
But when Amazon responded to the report, it downplayed the Google aspect and said the Amazon reviewer had simply used the wrong language to explain why the skill was being rejected.
“We reviewed the skill and determined that the incorrect phrase could lead to customer confusion and did not accurately portray the skill functionality. The certification representative’s response was an error,” a spokesperson said. “We do not ban the usage of brand names, although we do strive to ensure that trademarks, intellectual property or brand names are used properly.”
In Amazon’s defense, it isn’t odd that the company doesn't want to promote one of its chief rivals, especially since a recent report found that Google Home is gaining ground on Amazon Echo.
According to Search Engine Land, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) said that Google Home represented 40 percent of the units sold during the holiday selling period in the U.S. The report also found that Google Home now has 31 percent market share, compared to 69 percent for Amazon’s Echo devices.