Alexa skills are the equivilant of apps for Amazon’s voice assistant, and the company has incrementally been making it easier to use new skills. You first had to use the Alexa app to enable a skill before it could be accessed, but then Amazon added the ability to enable a skill using your voice. Now they’ve taken it a step further by making it possible to simply say “Alexa, open [SKILL NAME]” and it will immediately be available without first having to enable it.
This new capability really just combines two steps into one. Where you used to have to first say “Alexa, enable [SKILL NAME]” followed by “Alexa, open [SKILL NAME],” now Amazon does the first step for you if you ask to open a skill you don’t already have enabled.
It’s important to understand this distinction from actually having access to every skill by default. Since the skill is still being enabled first and then opened, it means you can’t make a request to the skill in your first voice command. If you ask a skill, which you don’t already have enabled, to do something specific, it will be enabled and opened, but will ignore the specific request you made.
In practice this means if you don’t have The Bartender skill enabled, for example, and say “Alexa, ask the bartender what’s in a margarita,” the skill will be enabled and launched, but will prompt you for a command, instead of answering your question.
This newly added ability to install and open Alexa skills with a single command isn’t a game changer, but it should make trying new skills you hear about a little bit easier.