Despite being first to market, Amazon’s Alexa-enabled lineup of smart speakers has until now had a major disadvantage compared to Google’s Home products: It couldn’t tell voices apart.
One of the Amazon Echo’s biggest blindspots has just been addressed. Starting today, the company will finally start rolling out customized voice detection. That means users in multi-person homes will be able to get individualized experiences, based on voice recognition. So each user gets their personalized shopping list, music selections and the like.
The feature is one of the spots where Amazon has been playing catch-up with Google, in spite of its multi-year head start. Google announced the functionality back in April, making the product a much more enticing buy for crowded households.
At launch, the feature is compatible with Flash Briefings, shopping, Amazon Music’s family plan and Alexa to Alexa calling, adding the name of the specific user to incoming calls. The company will be adding more unspecified functionality in the future. The company also claims it will “get smarter,” the more people use it.
It’s set to roll out across the line in coming days. Getting started is similar to setting up Google Assistant or Siri on a phone. Using the mobile app, users select “Your Voice” in settings and then walk through a series of demo commands to familiarize the software with your voice. Full instructions can be found on Amazon’s help page.
The device is compatible with Echo and any other Alexa device tied to an Amazon account.
By Brian Heater for TechCrunch