Amazon adds Alexa to its iOS shopping app

The voice-activated assistant is now available to a wide audience of consumers who use the Amazon shopping app.

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(Image: Amazon)

Amazon announced Thursday it has added its Alexa voice-activated assistant to its iOS shopping app.

Shoppers using the Amazon app could already search for products or check their order status with vocal commands. Now, however, iPhone and iPad users have access to Alexa's full skill set. In addition to shopping, a user can ask Alexa questions, stream Kindle books or music, or control Alexa-integrated smart home devices.

Alexa is accessible in the app by tapping the microphone icon in the search bar.

A recent study found that Google Home is better at answering questions than Alexa, though the Amazon assistant is already integrated with several products. Now that Alexa is accessible via Amazon's popular shopping app, it could find a wider audience.

Vocal computing is already widely used: A recent survey of more than 1,400 people from six countries found that 74 percent had used voice search in the past month. Now that speech recognition systems are effectively on par with human performance, vocal computing is expected to usher in "a new era of faceless computing."

VIDEO: Amazon Alexa jumps from speakers to smartphones

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