Yandex allows Users to teach the Alice assistant new skills

Previously, we covered the launch of Yandex’s AI-powered interactive assistant, Alice. Companies and individuals can teach Alice “skills” that allow her to interact directly with Russian-speaking users.
From Yandex company news (in Russian)

Yandex has opened access to the Dialogs platform, which allows users to teach Alice new skills, create search bots, or chat with a human representative of your company. Anyone can participate, from major banks to programming novices who just came up with their first games.

With Yandex.Dialogs, you can socialize directly with your clients and find new ones among Yandex’s millions of users. For example, a restaurant could create a bot or a chat function, and Alice will direct customers who want to place orders. Chat bots you create will also be available on the Yandex search results page.

Everything that third-party developers “teach” Alice gets added to her skills catalog, which is divided into categories like Business and Finance, Food and Drinks, and Games and Entertainment. The Alice interface displays the most popular skills first, but users can also search by whatever skill they need. To open the catalog, click on the cube within the Alice chat interface.

Beta testing was conducted for almost three months. Currently, the catalog contains more than 4,000 skills. For example, users can order a pizza from Papa John’s, products from the popular Utkonos platform, or flowers from Flowwow. They can also check their Megafon mobile phone balance, do some exercises recommended by Reebok, select flight tickets from the airline S7, search for work with HeadHunter, study English with SkyEng, scan the McDonald’s menu, or ask the Sberbank bot a question.

A skill gets activated when the user voices whatever command its author assigned to it. As soon as Alice hears the command, she opens a separate window where the user continues communicating with the bot or a live person. For now, all the bots use the voice of “Oksana,” which users of Yandex.Navigator are already familiar with. In the future, however, there may be other voices to choose from.

Alice’s new skills pass a moderation process before appearing in the Yandex, Ya.Navigator, and Ya.Browser apps for the iOS and Android platforms, the Ya.Browser app for Windows, or the Yandex.Station home multimedia platform that was introduced at Yandex’s annual YaC (Yet Another Conference) event.

For more information, contact the Yandex PR department at pr@yandex-team.ru.