Starting from today on January 17, 2019, Alexa has got a new voice on the Amazon Echo Speaker. The users of the Amazon Echo Speaker will notice a difference in the voice which is now more natural than before. Amazon has rolled out a new and fresh speaking style for the Alexa users in the US. The voice has been modeled in a way the news readers deliver the news.
It was first announced in November 2018 and the developers of Amazon had utilized the developments in Neural TTS technology which is also known as the Text To Speech Technology to create the updated voice. It allows the voice assistant to tailor the speaking style to different commands and requests. Here the newcaster style voice of Alexa has a clearer intonation and emphasizes on the words in a way that sounds less robotic than the default voice.
In order to determine how important is a natural voice for its consumers, Amazon conducted a large-scale experiment and found that people preferred the newcaster voice of Alexa while hearing the news. On the other hand subjects still preferred the voice of a human newcaster over Alexa’s new sound. It suggested that the consumers still felt more comfortable with the voices that sounds more like its own.
The researchers had also tried out with creating a neutral voice for when Alexa reads out the Wikipedia entries. But the users can hear the different speaking styles through a sound cloud emded over at a tech crunch. Amazon has also noted that the researchers were able train Alexa so as to use the newcaster voice after a few hours of feeding it phonemes. Amazon in its original statement in November 2018 said, “this advance paves the way for Alexa and other services to adopt different speaking styles in different contexts, improving customer experiences.” It is easy to imagine different situations and it could come handy with the situation of children’s bedtime stories.