What You Need To Get Your Alexa Skill
or Google Action Certified & Publicly Available
Below is an evolving list of what you’ll need to have your Alexa Skill and Google Action approved, certified and available for public use on Alexa and Google Assistant devices.
Getting your Alexa skill or Google Action approved and certified can take some time depending on the backlog at Amazon and Google. It’s important to be prepared when you submit your skill for review so that you only have to go through the approval process once.
Below is a comprehensive list and explanation of terms and requirements necessary to have your voice application available on the most popular smart speaker devices. In just a few minutes you’ll learn about:
Public Skill Name versus Invocation Name
What you name your voice app and how users invoke or interact with your skill are critical to your success. It’s important to understand what Skill and Invocation Names are and how they work differently between Alexa and Google Home.
Alexa Skill Public & Invocation Names
There are two important items that affect people finding your skill and using it:
- Public Skill name. e.g., EmailMonkey
This is the name of the skill that will be displayed to users in the Alexa app. It can be different from your invocation name and must be between 2-50 characters.
Users of your Alexa Skill “enable” your skill to work with their device(s) by this name. This skill name is different from the invocation name.
- Invocation name. e.g., “EmailMonkey”
This is what people say to invoke your skill once they’ve enabled it. For example, after the skill is enabled, the user can say “Alexa, open EmailMonkey” or “Alexa, ask EmailMonkey to send an email to Lisa.”. With Alexa, the Invocation Name does NOT need to be unique. In other words, other Alexa Skills could share the invocation name with your skill.
Note that the invocation name can be different from the skill name, but we don’t recommend it because it can confuse people. If you need some help, try “Hear it from a Skill Builder: How to Pick a Skill Invocation Name“.
Actions (Skills) for Google Assistant & Invocation Names
The “skill” name (Google calls them Actions) and the invocation name need to be the same. Unlike with Amazon, users don’t explicitly “enable” a Google skill or action because all Google Action names are unique. There are some exceptions.
Google names are like web domain names in that they MUST be UNIQUE. First come first served. And, Google does not allow people to reserve a lot of names, or even change them often.
If your Google skill name contains what Google terms “branded” names, they mandate you prove you own the name. This is generally done by showing them that you own the web domain name of the same.
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Alexa Skill & Google Action Best Practices
These basic fields are required for all Alexa Skills and Actions for Google Assistant.
One Sentence Description
A quick at-a-glance sentence that describes the skill or what customers can do with it. This will display in the skill list in the Alexa app. For example, “This Assisted Living Community voice application is to enhance residence life of the clients of Dual Path.”
A more comprehensive description of this skill. Include information about any prerequisites like hardware or account requirements and detailed steps for the customer to get started. This description displays to customers on the skill detail card in the Alexa app.
Sample utterances that will appear on the skill detail card in the Alexa App. These phrases will help users get started and enable them to access your skill’s core functionality.
The category that best describes your skill. This helps customers find your skill quickly and easily.
Simple search words that relate to or describe this skill. This helps customers find the skill quickly and easily in the Alexa & Google app. Use spaces or commas in between each search term.
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Skill Artwork / Icons
Alexa Skill Icons
Amazon Small Skill Icon 108x108 (png preferred)
Amazon Large Skill Icon 512x512 (png preferred)
Google Action Icons
Google Small Icon 192x192 (png preferred): A small logo which will be shown in the Actions directory, as well as other places where your Actions are referenced
Google Large Skill Banner 1920x1080 (png preferred): A large banner image which will be shown at the top of your listing in the Actions directory.
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According to Amazon’s Developer portal, Amazon looks for trademarks, intellectual property, branding, advertising, violence, religious and other issues. Source: Amazon’s Policy Testing For An Alexa Skill.
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Contact Us To Discuss Your Voice App
Is Alexa In-Skill Purchasing Not Yet Ready For Prime Time? We’re having a heck of a time getting a client’s Alexa skill beta tested and certified. The skill uses Amazon’s In-Skill Purchasing, or ISP. Fun time #1 - Double Charges We found a verified Amazon ISP bug...read more
The Cost to use Google's API: $15k - $75k (or more) for a 3rd Party Assessment It's a sad day for EmailMonkey and the many folks who utilize our hands free gmail reader service for Alexa & Google Assistant devices. Last week, we received an email notification from...read more
Amazon's Alexa Skill Certification - CEO Abbreviation We are generally very impressed with the Amazon Alexa system and set of developer tools that we’ve been given to service our clients. However, there are exceptions. One big Amazon bug exception that we just ran...read more