If you’ve wanted to try Alexa, the powerful AI behind Amazon’s Echo home personal assistant device, but you’re not sure if you want to blow the dough to buy one, give Echosim.io a try. Amazon has put the power of Alexa into a freely accessible website.
You will need to have an Amazon account that you can use to login, but after that, all you need to do is to click and hold on the webpage’s mic button and begin asking questions. (Release when you’ve finished your query.) (The app uses your computer’s microphone, so make sure yours has one built-in, or attached.)
Alexa can answer questions about weather, news, offer up information about web queries and more. It can also control smarthome gadgets, and now offers “skills,” which are third-party apps developers can build to expand the capabilities of the device.
Echosim.io was built by Nexmo developer advocate Sam Machin during a hackathon in 2015, and the debut of the website now allows anyone with access to the web to check out how Alexa works.