How to add Google’s Voice Assistant to Alexa on the Amazon Echo and Fire TV

The two leading voice assistants are Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s unnamed voice assistant. While Alexa is capable of doing more, Google’s voice assistant tends to respond to knowledge questions more accurately with the help of Google’s search engine. Thanks to an open source project, it’s now possible to unofficially add Google’s voice assistant to Amazon Echo and Fire TV devices as an Alexa Skill. This allows you to simply say “Alexa, ask Google …” followed by any question to hear Google’s answer. Here’s how to set it up on your Amazon account.

When you add “Ask Google” support to Alexa, you’re adding a voice interface that can read Google’s knowledge graph answers. While it’s a very powerful addition, it isn’t exactly the same as Google’s Home speaker. Because this is an unofficial implementation of Google’s service, there is no pre-made Alexa Skill to enable, so you’re going to have to create your own. While that may sound difficult, and the guide below may seem long, the entire process is just a series of copy & paste values that you need to enter into various forms.

Credit goes to tartanguru on GitHub for creating this Alexa Skill, the Adrian Smart Project team for creating the Google search module, and Alexa Mods for creating a guide which heavily influenced the guide below.

Guide

  1. Create a free Amazon AWS account at https://aws.amazon.com. You will need to enter credit card information when signing up, but just select the free Basic plan when asked and you will never be charged. You will also need to verify your phone number through an automated call. After you’ve signed up, you can verify you’re on the free plan by going to this page and checking that it says “Current support plan: Basic” at the top.
  2. Once your account is created and you’re logged in, be sure you have US East (N. Virginia) selected if you’re in the US, or EU (Ireland) selected if you’re in the UK or Germany, in the upper right menu.
  3. Now click on Services in the upper left corner and select the Lambda option.
  4. Click the Get Started Now button, then select Configure triggers from the menu on the left.
  5. Click the dotted square icon, select Alexa Skills Kit, then click Next.
  6. Enter google in the “Name” field, leave the “Description” field blank, select Node.js in the “Runtime” option, and select Upload a .ZIP file for the “Code entry type” field.
  7. In another browser window/tab, go to this page and click the download button to download an Archive.zip file.
  8. Back on the AWS page, click the “Upload” button and upload the Archive.zip file you just downloaded.
  9. In the “Lambda function handler and role” section of the page, leave index.handler for the “Handler” field, select Create new role from template(s) for the “Role” field, and enter lambda_basic_execution for the “Role name” field.
  10. In the “Advanced settings” section, leave 128 for the “Memory” option and enter 10 seconds for the “Timeout” field. Leave the rest of the page unchanged.
  11. Click the “Next” button at the bottom of the page and then click the “Create function” button on the following “Review” screen. Creation will take several seconds.
  12. Copy the entire “ARN” value in the upper right corner of the page and save it for later. It looks like this: arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1:############:function:google
  13. Now, create a free Amazon Developers account at https://developer.amazon.com. Select No for both options on the “Payments” screen.
  14. Once signed into the Amazon Developer site, click the “Alexa” button in the navigation menu across the top, then click the “Get Started” button under the “Alexa Skills Kit” option, then click the “Add a New Skill” button in the top right.
  15. Leave the “Skill Type” as Custom Interaction Model and enter google for both the “Name” field and “Invocation Name” field. Then click the “Next” button.
  16. Copy and paste the following into the “Intent Schema” field:
    {
      "intents": [
        {
          "intent": "SearchIntent",
       "slots": [
         {
           "name": "search",
           "type": "SEARCH"
         }
       ]    
    
    
        },
        {
          "intent": "AMAZON.StopIntent"
        }
      ]
    }

  17. Click the “Add Slot Type” button, then enter SEARCH in the “Enter Type” field, then enter who is the queen followed by why is the sky blue in the “Values” field, and click the “Save” button.
  18. In the “Sample Utterances” box, enter SearchIntent {search} and click the “Next” button.
  19. For the “Service Endpoint Type” field, select AWS Lambda ARN, select your region, paste your ARN value that you saved from earlier, select the No option under the “Account Linking” section, and click the “Next” button.
  20. You’re done and ready to say “Alexa, ask Google …” followed by anything you want.
    You can verify the newly created Alexa Skill is enabled by going to http://alexa.amazon.com (or the Alexa mobile app), select “Skills” from the menu on the left, select “Your Skills” in the upper right, scroll to the bottom and select the “google” skill.

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77 comments
  1. Kile says:

    Wow, this is fantastic. Thank you for the tutorial. Is there a way to set the home location for Google to reference?

  2. Omar says:

    Wow I can’t wait to try it !

  3. Jeff Burkhardt says:

    Thanks Elias,

    Just what the Dr. ordered, using Google search in the Alexa is just what I wanted…

  4. Joe D says:

    I did this last week following the original guide and it definitely works. So far two questions that Alexa couldn’t answer but Ask Google could…

    1) Can dogs eat peaches?
    2) Who was the youngest vice president of the united states?

  5. Mark says:

    Haha in still waiting for Alexa to come to my first gen Fire TV!

  6. Nate says:

    Hey Elias,

    Thanks for posting this. I saw this on Reddit a week ago and have been wanting to give it a spin but haven’t had time to set it up. Thanks for the guide.

    What’s your first impression of this new skill so far?

  7. jimberkas says:

    very cool. wonder how long it will be before someone comes up with an easier way to implement this.

  8. C Maines says:

    Thanks! It works! The instructions for step 17 should be re-written: – it’s not apparent from the instruction that you have to “add a slot.” Also, there’s an error message after hitting “Save” because the “Sample Utterances” field that you’re supposed to edit in step 18, populates with the two queries you’ve just entered in step 17. Ignoring the error message and replacing these two “utterances” as instructed in step 18 works just fine however.

    • AFTVnews says:

      Thanks! I’ve updated the guide to say you have to fist click “add a slot.” Are you saying you can’t click the save button without first doing step 18?

      • C Maines says:

        It’s only when you click the save button as instructed in step 17 that the error message pops up beneath the “Sample Utterances” field. But it’s confusing because what you’ve typed in step 17 has appeared in the “Sample Utterances” field. You have to delete that before typing in what step 18 tells you to put into the “Sample Utterances” field.

        • gdroid666 says:

          i honestly can’t understand either one of you ,what are you trying to say exactly? are you saying that you are supposed to enter the line
          “SearchIntent {search}” under the values field and then the lines “who is the queen and “why is the sky blue” in the sample utterances box
          because that seem to make a whole lot more sense to me since “who is the queen” and “why is the sky blue” sound like sample utterances and SearchIntent {search} sounds more like a value to me but this tutorial is telling you to do it the other way around, i followed the whole thing to the letter and when i get to step 19 and hit next i get this error
          ““Error: Please make sure that “Alexa Skills Kit” is selected for the event source type of arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1:389195026335:function:google “

          i don’t know what you mean by the lines are already there
          i don’t see any lines in either one of those fields when i hit the “add slot type” button are you saying when you hit the add slot type button it already has those lines “who is the queen ” etc in there already and you delete them and then re add them because that is why it sounds like you are saying to me

      • jimberkas says:

        i personally didn’t have an issue with saving. only thing missing in the guide for me was the “add a slot”, all else went exactly as described. excellent job.

  9. Andrew says:

    It didnt work for me, AWS froze after I clicked CREATE. Then when I tried to re-do it all, it says lambda_basic_execution already exists and I cant find the ARN details to copy them

  10. jimberkas says:

    seems to have worked for me, the skill shows up anyway. i can’t test it as i’m away from home.
    i agree with C Maines about Step 17 missing the “add a slot” instruction which threw me off for a minute.

    thanks for the tutorial! assuming this works, the tutorial was very easy to follow and I’d have been lost without it.

  11. Steve Kline says:

    Many thanks for a job well done and an excellent tutorial!

  12. Michael says:

    Has anyone looked at the source to make sure nothing evil is being done?

    • Ryan says:

      My father in law is a computer programmer and he had the same question. He looked through the code and told me it’s safe so I just went through this guide.

  13. Jack Astor says:

    SWEET! Worked like a charm. My kids will be over the moon.

    Alexa just can’t answer too many questions when it comes to their homework.

  14. damien says:

    worked great except..
    would not upload the archive file its bigger then 10 meg.
    I had to upload it to amazon S3.
    also

    lambda_basic_execution for the “Role name” field.

    gave me an error saying it already existed

    I had to name it lambda_basic_execution1

    thanks
    damien

  15. gremlin says:

    the skill shows up but when I ask alexa to ask google she says she cannot ask google.

  16. Kevin Wyman says:

    nice, nice, nice. This will settle many dinner conversations. Really appreciate the step by step guide.

  17. John says:

    Gah! Active voice, please! “…which heavily influenced the guide below.”

  18. Ganeyvim says:

    Tried 10 times.
    Function was created,
    Skill does not show up in list

  19. Ganeyvim says:

    The basic skill test on the development page worked.
    Skill shows up in my skills list, but Alexa’s response to “ask google ***”, is
    “There was a problem communicating with the requested skill”
    Am I missing something?

  20. damien says:

    I’m almost 15 years old, and i got it.

  21. Ralph M. says:

    IT WORKS…IT…WOOOOOORKS!!! (sinister laugh…Buahahahahhahahaaaaaaa)

  22. Randy says:

    Looks like “Alexa Skills Kit” has been removed from Lambda Configure Triggers.

  23. Lobo Lansky says:

    Love it thank you for this tutorial i even made my icon with the Google to make it more official looking.

  24. PhrankEPhresh says:

    Works like a charm! First question I asked? “Why is my poop green?” This might explain why my wife treats me like a child. :) Thanks for the AWESOME tutorial!

  25. Rick O'Dwyer says:

    Thanks! This is really a great coup to get Amazon working with Google. Alexa can now actually answer all the questions I pose.

  26. SFDave says:

    It works for me. Alexa couldn’t tell me Donald Trump’s phone number, but Google could.

    Thanks a bunch!

  27. Tony Finn-Ford says:

    Just followed the step by step and when I said “Alexa, Ask Google who is the current prime minister of England” Alex responds with “Sorry There is a problem

  28. Jac says:

    What’s the name of the file I need to upload. When I downloaded the file I got a blue folder with a lot of files in it.

  29. Baloo247 says:

    For all who got errors when you asked google or asking which zip file. Make sure you uploaded the archive.zip from the src directory on the github link.

  30. BB says:

    Installed

    but doesn’t work

    Ask Google ….

    Sorry couldn’t find aa answer …

  31. Charles says:

    Wow, I read a guide on the whole AWS process and it left me shivering in the corner of a room.

    Thanks for your effort in leading me through the process – my will is there but my technical savvy is not. :)

    • cheryl jones says:

      Charles I am over 60 and while i google and youtube and amazon shop on the internet i have never used word or excel etc. I just did this and it worked. The pics were small and dim and i had to magnify to 500 but i went real slow. Sentence by sentence. Took me 45 minutes but i did it. Just try it –if it doesn’t work out you have lost nothing. If it does work you will be on top of the world like I am.

  32. Ron says:

    Just amazing! Thank you so much. Another example of a question that Alexa couldn’t answer — “Alexa, what is stainless steel” — Alexa was able to answer with this new skill.

  33. DotWin says:

    First I want to say many thanks! It worked great, even in Germany.
    Just one thing you might add in your article or mention in your AFTVnewscast:
    When in Germany it is still necessary to select region/country “EU (Ireland/London)” and not “EU (Frankfurt)”, because “Alexa Skills Kit” is otherwise not available when creating the Lambda function.

    • Oli says:

      As a German Echo customer… does it contain a German voice command set or do you have to talk English in order to make it happen?

  34. Maureen Amy says:

    Seems like everything worked says the skill is enabled..but it does not show on my “your skills page” and of course does not respond.

    Any ideas?

  35. PJR says:

    Followed the guide last night

    Asked Alexa for the Composition of Water – (nothing)

    Asked Alexa to ask Google the Composition of Waterand got – the H2O breakdown

    Sweet! Thanks!

  36. e1allen says:

    HELP! I need to delete what I created and start over.

    It says the function already exists.

    Can I either edit the region from Oregon to N Virginia?

  37. gdroid666 says:

    could they disable this like they did with using a custom trigger name?
    more likely google would want it removed than amazon

    also wcan this do what a google home does? like can you tell it to play a youtube video on the TV/chromecast

  38. gdroid666 says:

    this does not work i followed the whole tutorial exactly to the letter and this is what i get

    “Error: Please make sure that “Alexa Skills Kit” is selected for the event source type of arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1:389195026335:function:google “

  39. gdroid666 says:

    how do i delete everything and just start over? i tried to do it again but it keeps giving me errors about duplicate files existing?

    • gdroid666 says:

      “Error: Custom slot types must have unique names. Given name is a duplicate: SEARCH”

      how can i delete this and start over? how do you clear out the existing entry?

  40. EnigmaSez says:

    Ahh, the sweet feeling of success! I’m visually impaired and got this working with just a minor bit of patience. My only piece of advice is be careful when copying the section in the tutorial having to do with intents… It took me a few tries to copy it properly with my assistive technology, but once I got it and clicked through, I had no further issues. Very happy with the results. Only additional thing I’ve done is to tweak what shows up on the skill details page in the Alexa app to look just a bit more professional, mostly to impress non-techie types. Thanks for a great tutorial.

  41. James Woodward says:

    Works great. Thanks for those who developed this!

  42. James Woodward says:

    Another thought. Now that I have this working does this make Alexa equivalent to the Google home device?

  43. Sebastien says:

    Work great. Thank you so much!

  44. dk1 says:

    Totally worked for me. Thanks to all who made this happen, it’s really KOOL!
    question: now that I have the google skill, is there a way to copy the skill and give it to someone who has Alexa? My daughter has an Echo and Fire TV, is there a way to enable my google skill for her or do I need to complete the same process under her Amazon Acct?
    Thanks

    • Charles says:

      From my understanding you are setting up a skill for private use. If you publish the skill others can use it but if the number of uses exceeds the limit of your free account, functionality will cease unless you upgrade your account.

      So, you will need to set up the skill for each account. This way, the skill is ‘in development’ and not available to the general public.

  45. Graham says:

    I have discovered that if you’re in the UK (or at least not in the USA), make sure the language is set to English (UK) not English (US)… I found that with US language set, it works fine in the simulator, but my actual device couldn’t call the skill even though it was enabled.

  46. Richard says:

    Fantastic! Just fantastic!

  47. Al says:

    I’m following your steps and when I get to the configure triggers and select Alexa Skills Kit and press next, I see the error:

    “You are not subscribed to this service. Please go to http://aws.amazon.com to subscribe. (Service: AmazonEC2; Status Code: 401;”

    Any help?

    • Al says:

      The solution was to wait for the email: “Your AWS Account is Ready – Get Started Now”

      It took about 3 hours from the time I signed up to the time I got the email.

  48. Pedro P. says:

    This guide was simple and very detailed screenshots helped when I was stuck, I had it running in 10 mins. Great job poster, appreciate adding so much more value to Alexa!

  49. james says:

    great job. thank you so much for taking the time to do the tutorial. every easy to follow. works perfectly.

  50. MD says:

    It worked for me with one try and I am not overly “techie”. Thanks so much for this guide.
    Awesome, just great.

  51. Jim Duff says:

    Magical (eventually!) Thank you for sharing your terrific work on this. My main issue was that I thought I had received the approving AWS email and kept trying to log on to the console, but the final email took about 36 hours. Then I got stuck until remembering the part about adding a character to lambda_basic_execution file. I’m looking forward to doing a more efficient job of enabling this skill on my daughter’s Echo! Thanks again, and also to those who have added questions and comments.

  52. Yogich says:

    ‘Alexa Skills Kit’ does not appear, in the listing. I put it in, manually… here’ goes, nothing.

  53. Yogich says:

    WOOT!! I got, it. Now, if there is a way to have it read my Google mail…it’d be even more, awesome. ^^

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