Appliances

Amazon Lex, coming to just about anything near you

Amazon tells developers its voice technology can now be added to any app, report says.

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Developers can now use Amazon Lex, the voice tech that powers Alexa, in their apps. Alexa made its first appearance on Amazon's smart speaker, the Echo.

Using our hands and fingers can be so tiresome. Wouldn't it be great to just, you know, tell everything around us to do our bidding?

That's what Apple, Amazon, Google, Microsoft and even Samsung hope Siri, Alexa, Assistant, Cortana and Bixby (in that order) will ultimately achieve. It's a race to see which company can add smart voice assistants to more products and apps than its rivals.

On Wednesday, Amazon -- which already has the lead in that race -- added more distance between itself and the competition, telling app developers they now have its Amazon Lex voice technology at their disposal, according to Reuters.

Lex is speech recognition and conversational software backed by the same technology as Amazon's Alexa. Using it, software developers will be able to add Amazon-powered chatbots using voice and text to just about any app.

"There's massive acceleration happening here," Amazon Chief Technology Officer Werner Vogels told Reuters before going onstage for the Amazon Web Services Summit in San Francisco. "The cool thing about having this running as a service in the cloud instead of in your own data center or on your own desktop is that we can make Lex better continuously by the millions of customers that are using it."

Products have been getting mouthier for a while now. This year's Computer Electronics Show, for example, included a number of cars, appliances and speakers that people could control just by talking to them. Adding more voice to technology could make complicated systems, like an automated home, easier to use, and cars safer to drive.