You don't have to be embarrassed about admitting to another human being that you want a grande caramel frappuccino with extra whipped cream and a triple shot of vanilla syrup. Starbucks now lets you order via voice command or text through its iOS app or Amazon's Alexa.
It shouldn't be too surprising that the global coffee conglomerate is drafting Alexa's skills. Starbucks has a track record of testing out techie ways to give you that caffeine fix, from its highly popular app to enabling new payment methods. Meanwhile, Amazon's AI assistant Alexa is popping up on more and more devices, and Alexa's lists of skills and commands grow daily.
Starting today, a few lucky Starbucks customers will be able to access the My Starbucks Barista feature, which is in beta, through the Starbucks app.
From there you can text or use voice commands to tell the AI-powered barista what you want, and it'll place your order and tell you how to pick it up. But act fast, the beta version is currently only available to 1,000 people in the US. The full feature will slowly roll out to more people (including Android users) in the next few months.
To order your beverages through Alexa, download the Starbucks Reorder Skill on your Alexa-enabled device and say "Alexa, order my Starbucks." It's worth noting that this will place your "usual" order for you, so you'll have to change your default order if you want something else.
This isn't the first time Starbucks has dabbled in AI. Last August, 'Bux introduced a Pumpkin Spice Latte chatbot (or PSL, to go with the lingo) to build up excitement for the widely popular fall flavor. While a virtual barista may sound a bit more practical than talking to a chatbot version of a PSL, using AI to conduct business may be part of a bigger trend to help companies stay relevant in today's modern world.