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Amazon Wants Alexa to be Able to Tell Voices Apart

02 March, 2017, 22:19 | Author: Nadine Todd
  • Why Advertising On Virtual Home Assistants like Google Home or Amazon Echo Is Inevitable

Amazon Echo, which we reviewed well back in December, as well as Amazon Echo Dot, have been out rather a while now and clearly begun to build up a solid early-adopter install base in the United Kingdom, with sales over the holiday season apparently seeing lots of units ship. With "Voice ID", Alexa would be able to identify the voice of different users, making it possible to automatically switch between accounts after recognizing the user's voice.

Internally known as "Voice ID", the feature has been in development since a year ago and is nearly ready for launch, according to the person familiar with the matter who spoke with Time. Amazon's new feature would match the person speaking to a voice sample, or "voice print", to verify a person's identity, according to a source. According to a report, the Google Home UK launch might take place by June this year. The underlying technology has been completed; it's just a matter of integrating the feature into Echo products, one of the sources claimed. With Voice ID, parents couple prevent Alexa from accepting shopping instructions from children or other unauthorised members of the household. Microsoft has also previewed a speaker powered by its virtual assistant Cortana. It's even coming to non-Amazon devices like Motorola smartphones and LG refrigerators.

It is understood that the "Voice ID" software is ready, but Amazon will have to consider privacy concerns.

Besides saving people money, allowing Alexa to distinguish between users would help it to make more personal suggestions when it comes to playing music.

Baked into Google Home is Google Assistant, Google's new Siri-like voice assistant that can hold conversations with you and understand follow up questions in context.

Still, the concept of a voice print is not unlike the separate customer profiles users already can maintain and move between using passwords on devices like the Amazon Fire tablet. There's no word yet, however, on exactly when it will be available to pre-order, or how much it will cost.


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