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Amazon Alexa Coders Can Now Use 8 Different Voices in Their Skills

Jonathan Vanian

has made it possible for coders to embed eight different computerized voices into their skills for the company's Alexa voice-activated digital assistant.

The online retail giant said Wednesday that developers can now apply to test the voices, which were built to sound like U.S. English speakers. The point of having access to multiple Alexa voices is so developers can build skills (apps) in which users interact with a variety of voices instead of just one.

For instance, if coders were to create interactive audio stories for Alexa, they could use the new voices to represent different characters, Amazon said.

The new Alexa voices are part of the company's Polly service, which developers use to build skills (apps) for Alexa that can recognize text and convert it to a voice that can beam out of an Alexa-powered device like the Amazon Echo smart speaker.

Amazon said that developers who are accepted to test the voices will be able to use them for free, but that will likely change when the voices are available to the general public to be used outside of a preview.

It should be noted that developers can already add multiple voices to their skills, but it's a more complex process that involves recording a voice as an audio file.

Amazon currently has a number of different voices with different dialects and accents developers can currently bundle into their skills, according to the company's website.

Some of the voices include: Ivy, a female voice that speaks in mannerisms akin to U.S. English speakers; Hans, a male voice that speaks in German; and Naja, a female voice that speaks Danish. It’s unclear when developers will be able to embed eight non-U.S. English speaking voices into their skills.

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Last week, unveiled at its annual developer conference six new voices for the company's competing Google Assistant, including a forthcoming voice that's based on audio recordings from musician John Legend.

 

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