12,000 pieces of official govt advice added to Alexa and Google Home

20 April 2019, 20:23 | Updated: 20 April 2019, 21:47

Information on public services - from renewing a passport to the state pension - can now be accessed through voice-activated smart speakers and virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home.

The government says the public can now access more than 12,000 pieces of official information from the Gov.uk website without having to search online.

Users can access details on subjects including how to apply for free childcare, and ask to find out what the basic rate of tax and the national minimum wage is.

It could soon be extended to cover additional services such as renewing road tax or finding out details of how to get married, ministers say.

The head of Gov.uk, Jennifer Allum, added: "These results are promising because voice services can be a really convenient way to get information, particularly for people who find computers and phones hard to use."

Cabinet Office minister Oliver Dowden said: "This is all about making life easier for people who need to access information about Government services."

It follows a six-month trial by a team from the Government Digital Service.

Concerns about privacy have been raised surrounding Alexa after it was reported that Amazon teams around the world use recordings from the devices to improve how they respond to requests.