Amazon is finally ready to bring a major feature to its Alexa voice assistant, with the AI now able to ascertain who is speaking to it. That’s a function that has been available on Google Home for quite some time, although it could be extremely useful to Alexa users.
Google’s implementation of multi-user voice recognition allows users to get answers that are specifically tailored to them – including how long it will take to get to work, what the weather is like at work, or what’s on the calendar. Alexa should be able to do all those things, but it will also gain some unique features.
Amazon are set to remove the need for a PIN to purchase items from its online store if ordered through Alexa. That’s because the voice recognition should be able to confirm who’s ordering, and then ensure that their Amazon account is billed.
In addition to voice ordering, Alexa is also able to customise the Flash briefings to whoever is speaking, while those on the Amazon Music Unlimited Family plan will have songs chosen that fit their tastes. It’s not known whether Amazon plans on allowing third-party developers take advantage of the voice recognition technology, like Google, but given its embrace of developers in the past, it could be likely.
Alexa owners wanting to set up their own voice profile can do so through the Amazon app. In accounts settings, there’s a new option called ‘Your Voice’. Tapping on the profile name and giving Alexa permission for things such as placing calls and sending messages will then allow users to train the voice assistant to recognise their voice. Like training Google, users will have to repeat phrases over and over again so that Amazon can build a voice profile. Multiple users can then set up their own profiles.
Amazon has been adding new features at an exponential rate recently. It’s already gained the ability to support multi-room audio, has access to Google calendars, and can now be used an intercom. Coupled with the new slate of devices, it’s clear the Amazon smart speaker line-up will continue to get better – which it will need to given the competition from Google, Apple and the myriad of other manufacturers.