In October, Google announced a new feature on the Google Home platform: The ability to recognize individual users’ voices, meaning that when you ask Google to play music on Spotify, you no longer have to endure your partner’s Britney Spears playlist — even for a second — before you direct the device to switch to your own playlist. Dubbed Voice Match, our Google Home Mini testers determined it did a pretty good job of figuring out who was talking and then providing accurate answers tailored to the individual. Not to be outdone, Amazon Alexa now has the same feature.
Amazon reportedly confirmed to Engadget that Alexa, already a smarty-pants, will now be able to decipher whether you, your child, or a guest playing a joke on you is trying to order 10 bags of chocolate chip cookies via your Echo device. And now, at the company’s re:Invent conference, Amazon announced that Alexa developers will be granted access to voice-specific technology, too. By early 2018, Amazon says that the “Your Voice” technology will give developers the option of building personalized experiences into new skills.
To set up a voice profile as an Alexa user, you need to go to the Amazon Alexa app on your phone. Go to account settings, select Your Voice, and then select your profile name. Like Google Home’s Voice Match, you’ll then be directed to say several phrases out loud so Alexa can learn your voice. If you want to add other people to your Echo, Echo Dot, or Echo Show, you need to have them sign into their own account on their own Alexa app. You can also choose the “I’m someone else” option on the app, then train their voice on the device in the same way you did for yourself.
After you create a voice profile, Alexa will call you by name and give you personalized answers. So when you ask Alexa to add laundry detergent to your shopping list, she will automatically add the item rather than having to clarify which shopping list you want it added to. And soon, you may be able to tailor some of the more than 15,000 Alexa skills to individual users with the developer capabilities.
You can delete your voice profile at any time in the app, and voice profiles not used for three years will automatically be deleted. If you deactivate a device, your voice profile information will automatically be deleted from the cloud.
Update: Alexa developers will soon be able to create voice-specific skills.