The possibility of Amazon and Yelp combining forces has been bandied about for a while … and now it’s starting to bear fruit.
On Amazon.com, the “What’s New” section in the description of Amazon Echo — the company’s voice-enabled robotic assistant — now includes mention that “Alexa’s” (the name for the voice that Echo generates) answers to inquiries about locals businesses will come “straight from Yelp.”
As explained on the site, Echo owners who wish to enable the Yelp-linked service will have to provide their address in the settings of their device, thus enabling it to provide location-based recommendations from Yelp.
Amazon provides examples of interactions for users once they’re up and running, such as: “Craving cashew chicken? Just ask: ‘Alexa, find me a nearby Chinese restaurant'” and “Wondering when the pharmacy closes? Just ask: ‘Alexa, what are the hours for a nearby pharmacy?'”
Regarding the implications of Echo’s Yelp integration, Mashable puts forth a theory that MPD CEO Karen Webster has previously recommended as a wise move for Amazon: the eCommerce giant may be getting closer to outright acquiring the local business search platform.
As Webster opined back in January, for Amazon to enable Amazon payments within all of Yelp’s businesses, could potentially bring a number of mutual benefits, including, for Amazon, the ability to extend its mPOS solution, and, for Yelp, an extended commerce strategy that goes beyond advertising and sponsored pages.
Mashable offers another upshot that acquiring Yelp could provide for Amazon: the ability for the latter to effectively manage the problem of fake reviews, which the former has handled with some success.
However, all such theories, the outlet notes, may be all for naught, if recent reports (such as one from The Street) that Yelp is no longer for sale are to be believed.