For close to five years now, Amazon’s smart personal assistant Alexa has been there to answer our questions, automatically dim our lights, and play our favorite songs upon request. All this has been great but let’s face it, hearing the same voice and calling out to the same name can become quite monotonous. Luckily, Amazon has now included a couple of new ways you can add some variation to your interaction with your trusty personal assistant.
The days of feeling like a droning robot who just utters the same monotonous process of calling out to the same person are coming to an end. Now, you can change both Alexa’s name and voice. What’s even better is the fact that moving away from the default settings could not be any easier.
Here’s how you can personalize your Amazon Alexa device:
Changing Alexa’s Name
The ability to be able to change Alexa’s new name is a great step towards variation and personalization. However, the wake word options are a bit limiting. Unfortunately, you can’t just swap Alexa’s name for any other quirky or sentimental name/nickname that tickles your fancy. So if you thought you could get Eleven from ‘Stranger Things’, Morgan Freeman or SpongeBob to dim the lights or order you a Lyft, you are out of luck.
What you can do, is choose between “Amazon”, “Echo”, and “Computer” to be your device’s new wake word. All you need to do is implement the following steps:
- Open the Alexa app
- Open the three line horizontal menu button located on the top left corner
- Click on Settings then select the device settings for the Alexa device you’d like to change
- Scroll down the options and click on Wake Word.
- Tap and open the drop-down menu where you’ll get to choose between “Amazon,” “Echo,” or “Computer”
- Depending on your preference pick your favorite Alexa alternative.
- Once you press okay, Alexa’s colored rim light will now turn orange for a few minutes to indicate a transition to the new name you have selected. Once the light goes off, you are done and can now say hello to your new wake word.
Changing Alexa’s Voice
Another way Alexa’s voice can become droning is by only being able to hear the same tones and intonations. Now, you can spice things up giving Alexa a sophisticated British accent or a very passionate French accent. Heck, you don’t have to stop there.
Although her voice will still be female, there is no limit to the accents you can now give Alexa. You can change up her default language setting and switch up her accent by following these steps:
- Open the Alexa app on your phone
- Head to the settings menu and tap on it
- Scroll down the list of devices connected to our Alexa app and select the device that you’d like to apply the settings to.
- Once you’ve selected the device, locate your preferred language.
- Proceed to click on the drop-down menu and choose your preferred accent and/or language
- Save changes and you are all set.
As exciting as all this may be, I should still warn you, changing her voice accent may make it a little bit harder for her to understand you. For instance, if you set her accent to be a British one and yours is as American as can be, some words might be lost in translation. So unless your British accent can sweep the Queen of England off her feet, Alexa may be slightly confused about what it is you are asking for. Other than that, you are all set to go!
Before we conclude, this is not all you can do with your Alexa device. As of now, you can now also enable skills on your Alexa device so as to get your favorite celebrity voices to talk to you.
Enabling Alexa Voice Skills
Remember Amazon’s 2018 Super Bowl where Alexa lost her voice and the likes of Cardi B, Gordon Ramsey, Rebel Wilson, and Sir Anthony Hopkins tried to fill in for her? Well, looks like that hilarious advert may not be too far-fetched.
Thanks to Alexa Skills, you can now have celebrities like Chef Gordon Ramsey speak to you through the device. However, while his voice will not necessarily replace Alexa’s voice altogether, some of his predominant phrases featuring his penchant for harshly criticizing food will be there.
Here is how you can enable celebrity skills:
- Open the Alexa app- Once again you will need to open the app then proceed to tap the three-line horizontal Menu
- Choose your preferred skill
- Upon selecting the Skills button, type in your preferred celebrity’s name in the search bar. Select the option that best fits your search then sit back and enjoy your favorite celebrity’s catchphrases.
Note: For most of the skills you can also activate simply by asking Alexa to enable them, although, you’ll need to know the specific skill you want in order to make the request.
The developers at Amazon are working tirelessly to try to make the smart personal assistant sound more and more human. In this regard, one of the latest developments they have been able to achieve is the Speech Synthesis Markup Language (SSML).
What the SSML does is allow users to switch up Alexa’s voice. Some of the features included are the ability to change the speed of her speech, alter her pitch and word intonations, and enable her to whisper. For families with children in the house or just generally don’t like curse words, there is an option to bleep out or substitute any strong language.
All in all, there are plenty of improvements on the horizon to help better tailor individuals’ experience with their Amazon Alexa devices.
For now, you can begin by breaking the monotonous cycle of only referring to your advice Alexa and changing the default language settings. Although there is currently no way to entirely change Alexa’s voice, what we have now is most definitely more human-like than we did before.