Makers of Amazon Alexa skills are to get access to eight new voices to beef up their apps.
Currently, developers are stuck with Alexa’s standard voice for any skill they want to make, but that’s all about to change. It will give skills more varied personalities, which should lead to a richer experience – or at least that’s the idea. Obvious use cases would be adding multiple “characters” to Skill-based games and experiences.
It's all part of Amazon Polly, the text-to-speech service, launched back in 2017, which helps create the scripts for Alexa skills. It’s this service that’s been expanded with the extra voices.
The new voices are a mix of male and female, and are limited to US English for now. It’s not clear when other territories will get the ability.
What’s more, it’s not clear if this means that users will be able to change Alexa’s voice. Google has been pushing the customisation of Assistant’s voice, recently adding six new options and evening signing up soul crooner John Legend to be a voice assistant, who will land on devices later this year.
We assume that Amazon would be keen to preserve the identity of Alexa, which has certainly become a household name. This week we reported that Alexa as a baby name had dramatically fallen in the last year, as Echo smart speakers sold in their millions.
The new voices are available as part of a developer preview within Amazon Polly. You have to apply for selection – and can enter here.