October 13, 2017
Amazon stated that an Alexa-enabled device can create a Voice Profile by the user reciting ten phrases to the Alexa app, which allows it to then recognize that individual’s voice. The AI-powered assistant will then deliver results based on the user’s profile or previously enacted preferences. This capability will first be available for shopping on Amazon, Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers, news briefings, calls and messages (not including SMS messages). More features will be unveiled in the future.
VentureBeat reports that an Alexa account can support up to 10 different voices; in comparison, Google Assistant “has had the ability to recognize up to six unique voices for similar personalized results since this spring.” Voice Profiles — which will replace Alexa voice training — can be created “with the Alexa app and any Amazon Echo device,” and, “once created, personalized results can be delivered through any Alexa-enabled device, including third-party ones that use the Alexa Voice Service.”
With the unveiling of Voice Profiles, says VentureBeat, Amazon is making its “latest attempt to use Alexa to incentivize use of native Amazon offerings like Drop Ins for calls and messages in the Alexa app or Amazon Music,” and is also “another feint in the tit-for-tat chat wars between large tech companies with AI assistants like Google Assistant, Samsung’s Bixby, and Microsoft’s Cortana,” with competition building for the holiday season.
Bloomberg reports that Amazon stated it is “willing to team up with competitors Apple and Alphabet’s Google if it would help improve customers’ experience with its Alexa voice-activated virtual assistant.” Amazon is already working with Microsoft “on productivity features for Alexa such as calendar interactions.”
“We are super passionate about the customer approach,” said Amazon vice president of Alexa and Echo devices Toni Reid, who added that 5,000 people are working on Echo home speakers and the Alexa platform, and that “Amazon sees uses for voice-activated devices in every room of the home, as well as in cars and hotels.”