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“Alice” will be taught to pay for books – Vedomosti

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A new option has appeared in Yandex’s smart speakers with Alice’s voice assistant – users can use voice commands to select audiobooks in the Liters library and pay for them by giving Alice an order, representatives of the search engine and e-book service told Vedomosti. To do this, you will need to give a voice command “Alice, buy this book” or “Pay Liters”, after which the user’s smartphone will receive a push notification to confirm payment, and then the book will be available for listening through a speaker or mobile device. Yandex ».

Liters adds that it is not necessary to have an account in the service, but if the user wants to listen through a column to books previously purchased on the website or in the Liters application, he will need to start: purchases will be combined. ” A Yandex spokesman notes that about 140,000 audiobooks and podcasts can be purchased on Liters through Alice.

“Liters” – the first company to start using “Alice” as a tool for direct sales, says a representative of “Yandex”, ie the electronic library of the first of the services outside the search engine ecosystem, implemented a scheme in which orders and payments are made using voice commands.

Revenues of the Liters group of companies, which includes electronic and audiobook services, grew by 32% in 2020, its representative told Vedomosti in January 2021. He did not name the figures, but in 2019 Liters reported on revenue of 4.4 billion rubles, therefore, in 2020 the figure was about 5.8 billion rubles, according to Vedomosti.

Earlier, Yandex and Liters have already tested some functional elements of the new service. Yandex last year launched a voice payment service when calling a taxi. You can also use the voice team to approve the purchase of films on the Kinopoisk website. In turn, “Liters” added to “Alice” a skill that allows you to reproduce through a voice assistant books previously purchased in the electronic library.

“Paying for audiobooks through” Alice “can be the first step towards creating a voice assistant marketplace, which will have a variety of goods and services that can be ordered and paid for by voice. The first thing that comes to mind is food, ready meals, basic necessities, etc., ”says Sergei Polovnikov, Content-Review project manager.

Yandex is moving in the same direction as Amazon with its virtual assistant Alexa, released in 2014. OurGroceries application allows you to add products to the cart through a voice assistant and then reminds the user when he is in the online store.

Audiobooks are one of the key drivers of book market development worldwide, says Alexander Bobrovsky, director of development of the Liters group of companies: “In 2020, its turnover in Russia increased by 44% to 2.1 billion rubles. We want users to be able to buy and listen to works with any device at hand. It is too early to talk about financial expectations from the launch of sales through a smart column, it is more about increasing the demand for audiobooks in general, increasing the awareness of the audience about this format. This is how we create another important channel for the consumption of audiobooks for users. “

At the moment, more than 1.3 million smart speakers have been sold in Russia, the total audience of “Alice” (through speakers and applications for mobile devices) – more than 45 million users a month, according to the press service of “Yandex”. “Globally, the company’s developers want to focus on scenarios that are more convenient to use voice. Audiobooks are, of course, one such scenario, ”Yandex said.

Omdia estimates that the global smart speaker market in 2020 was 154 million units, an increase of 58% compared to 2019. Global device sales in 2020 were estimated at $ 11.3 billion. According to IHS Markit, by the end of 2023 The level of penetration of smart speakers worldwide will reach 73%, in Russia the share of Yandex in this market – more than 90%, according to the GfK Marketing Research Institute.

The new sales model will be in demand, and will also contribute to the development of the audiobook market as a whole, says Storytel CEO in Russia Boris Makarenkov: “Audiobooks are a very convenient format for consumption, which can always be combined with other things demand for them “.

Digitalization has also affected the book industry, from creating realistic soundtracks for books with existing or specially designed, customized voices to selling audiobooks in a variety of ways, including with the help of smart assistants. Incorrect voice command command recognition increases if the phrase is short or exotic. For example, if you want to listen to or buy a book by Robert Fish, there is a high risk that the system only recognizes fish. The same risks may apply to complex, original book titles. ”

Paying with biometric data, face and voice, is no longer an innovative service, but there are still certain barriers to trust these technologies, including voice commands for devices connected to payment systems, says the head of PR department of vvCube consulting group Anna Efremova : “Each of us understands and asks the question: will my data not leak and will it not be used to my detriment? Such technologies have a future, but for this society needs to get used to it, learn to use and trust – it’s a long process.

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