Amazon Echo can now recognize voices, respond with personalized information

For the first time, Amazon's Echo will be able to tell people apart by the sound of their voice.
By Kristy Douglas | Oct 14, 2017
Alexa, the digital assistant in Amazon's Echo products, is now able to both tell the difference between voices and reply with personalized responses.

This feature -- which aims to make the device more efficient -- is not new across all digital assistants. However, as the Echo is one of the most popular devices on the market, there is no doubt the ability to tell voices apart is going to be useful for homes that have more than one person.

The Google Assistant-powered Google Home smart speaker first showed the ability to distinguish voices back in April, Tech Times reports. This was one of the few advantages Home had over the Echo, but that gap seems to have closed.

Now that Alexa can tell the difference between multiple voices, users can personalize their Echo to respond in different ways depending on the person who spoke to it. This is a great feature for places where multiple people need to use the device, such as in a home or dorm. In addition, it will also allow Alexa to easily bring up personal information, including calendars, messages, and playlists.

Setting up the feature is easy as well. Users just need to create their voice profiles through the Amazon Alexa mobile app, which will be in the user's account settings in the Your Voice menu. From there, they will have to say 10 phrases to give Alexa an idea of what their voice sounds like. That will allow the machine to calibrate.

Currently, the voice identification feature is available for functions related to calls, messages, shopping, flash briefing, and the Amazon Music Unlimited Family Plan. The Echo will also play music to match the preferences of who is speaking, and it can block children from accessing unwanted material.

"Once you set up the feature, Alexa will learn your voice (versus your spouse/partner/roommate's voice) and be able to deliver a more personalized experience," a company spokesperson told The Verge. "Today the feature is available for calling/messaging, flash briefing, shopping, and the Amazon Music Unlimited Family Plan, and it'll be rolling out to additional Alexa features in the future."

More updates are planned for the new technology, but Amazon has not yet commented on what those will be.

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