I believe all skills should be treated equal. From Galactoise review (
http://www.derpgroup.com/blog/thoughts-after-the-alexa-smarthome-event): "...I wasn't able to get a direct answer out of anyone on whether Uber or Dominos got special backdoors for location awareness, but it was pretty clear based on the way they spoke around the questions that yes, they did." Aside from an unlevel playing field, I would think maintaining these one-offs is difficult to manage for Amazon, has scaling issues, and sets unmeetable expectations for users of other skills (E.g. "Why do I have to enter my zip code for this weather/traffic/dating/Joe's Pizza Delivery skill but not for Uber?"). I would prefer to see a list of permissions/access the skill is requesting when it is enabled and allow the user to decide what to allow. This will become even more significant in the future if/when things like push notifications, security, authentication, audio streams/text utterances sent to the server, etc, are allowed. Rand
FWIW, the reigning sentiment among everyone I talked to was that they'd like to expand some of these internal capabilities (though, not necessarily the location one) out to everyone, once they work out the kinks. If using "partners" as beta participants for new features results in those features getting deployed to the rest of us more quickly, then I'm all for it. I'd even suggest to them that maybe there are those of us in the dev community who are already well versed in the intricacies of the platform, who would be able to test out some of these new things in interesting ways without a lot of hand-holding around the basics... *wink* I agree, though, that if we end up with a two-tiered system, where the pre-existing brand names are permanently given preferential treatment in terms of access to features, that's not going to be good for the ecosystem. As a hobbyist, I'm not really willing to fight an uphill battle to compete against skills that are given special treatment. Just because they have an existing business, doesn't mean their ideas are better than mine. On the contrary, their business is probably a limiting factor in the scope of what they can do. But like I said, I got the sense that the former was much closer to the truth than the latter.
In general there are always going to be skills that are important to Amazon's business case that they are going to give special treatment too. It's the same with all companies. If you lay out the money for a superbowl add, you better make sure you can capitalize on it. What I [b]would[/b] like to see is an open and transparent business partner program. As someone who [i]is not[/i] a hobbyist, and is actually trying to make money on this, I would like to know what is necessary to get involved in such a business partner program.