Starbucks tackles voice ordering on iOS and Amazon Alexa

You can already place your Starbucks orders using your smartphone, but today we're seeing the massive coffee company expand on that functionality by rolling out a voice ordering feature. For the moment, the feature is only available on iOS through the Starbucks mobile app, and only a select number of customers will have access to it at first. In other words, this is a small-scale beta test before a larger launch later in the year.

Just how small is the scale of this test? At the start, Starbucks will limit voice ordering to a mere 1,000 customers. There's no word on what makes a customer eligible to be one of the lucky 1,000, but if you don't get in at the start, then just keep in mind that this voice order feature – dubbed My Starbucks Barista – will become available to more mobile customers (including those on Android) as we move through 2017.

In any case, the aim of My Starbucks Barista is to let you order food and drink items as if you were talking to a barista in-store. This means that you can customize your drink orders by adding extra shots, flavored syrup, or even asking the folks making your drink to leave room so you can add cream and sugar. Before sending your order off, the app will confirm your selections, give you a final price, and name the store your items will be waiting at.

The voice functionality coming to Amazon Alexa today is similar, but not entirely the same. You won't be able to construct an order using Alexa skills just yet, but you will be able to reorder your usual food and drink items using Echo devices. To do so, all you need to do is say "Alexa, order my Starbucks," and Alexa will use Starbucks mobile order and pay technology to place your order at your regular location.

So, we're not seeing voice ordering for all just yet, but it's coming before the end of the year. Starbucks hasn't announced when, exactly, voice ordering will arrive for customers using Android, but Starbucks says that the roll out should be complete by the end of summer 2017. Perhaps we'll see that same functionality come to Alexa as well? Time will tell.

SOURCE: Starbucks