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17 May 2018

Amazon launches 8 new voices for Alexa Skills

Amazon has launched eight new, free voices for Alexa Skills.

This means that developers can now customize voice apps using eight unique voices other than that of Alexa.

This could make Alexa Skills more engaging. For example, in an adventure story or game, developers can give distinct voices to different characters.

The new voices, both male and female, are only available in US English.

In context

Alexa's voice apps get 8 new voices

Alexa developer preview with new Skills voices is available now

This is being enabled through Amazon Polly, the company's text-to-speech platform. First launched in November 2016, Amazon Polly makes voices sound more natural. It is capable of carrying out vocal tasks like whispering, speech marks, using a timber effect, and dynamic range compression.

Adjust, change dialogues in apps without re-recording voices in mp3


Adjust, change dialogues in apps without re-recording voices in mp3

While developers might already be using different voices in their voice apps, it is being done through third-party functionalities like mp3 file uploads which make the process of developing a good app more cumbersome and rigid.

Now with native Amazon support, developers can simply use different voices for a specified text without having to create custom audio tracks.

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Developers can seamlessly integrate voices from Amazon Polly into Skills

"Using Amazon Polly, you can choose a different voice for any utterance by using the Structured Speech Markup Language (SSML) and specifying an Amazon Polly voice using the "voice name" tag. It's as easy as that," Amazon said.


Competing with Google Assistant

At the recently concluded annual developer conference Google I/O 2018, the tech giant rolled out six new Google Assistant voices including one based on popular singer John Legend.

However, unlike Google Assistant, Amazon's new voices won't change how Alexa sounds when you talk to her.

They are only available to the developer ecosystem for Alexa's voice apps.

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