Now Alexa’s voice apps don’t should sound like Alexa. Amazon immediately is providing a means for builders to provide their voice apps a singular character with the launch of eight free voices to make use of in expertise, courtesy of the Amazon Polly service. The voices are solely obtainable in U.S. English, and embrace a mixture of each female and male, in accordance with Amazon Polly’s website.
Amazon Polly was first introduced at Amazon’s re:Invent developer occasion in November 2016, and has been steadily ramping up its capabilities within the time since. The text-to-speech service right now is able to issues like whispering, speech marks, utilizing a timbre impact, and dynamic vary compression – all which make the voices sound extra pure.
Whereas the speech engine at the moment helps a pair dozen languages, solely the U.S. English voices are being provided to Alexa builders presently.
However their addition might make a few of Alexa’s expertise extra partaking – particularly these involving totally different characters, like an journey story or recreation, for instance.
Builders at this time might already be utilizing a number of voices of their expertise, however the means of doing so is extra cumbersome and inflexible, as with mp3 file uploads.
To make use of an Amazon Polly voice as an alternative, builders would use Structured Speech Markup Language (SSML) after which specify which voice they need with the “voice identify” tag. This makes it simpler to regulate what is claimed, as builders might simply change the textual content as an alternative of getting to re-document an mp3.
Amazon has been working to make Polly extra accessible to a wider viewers, lately by offering a WordPress plugin that would flip your posts into podcasts.
The brand new Alexa expertise integration, in the meantime, provides Polly one other avenue of reaching shoppers. It’s additionally one other technique of competing with Alexa’s rival, Google Assistant. At Google’s developer conference last week, the corporate introduced six new voices generated by Wavent, together with one from singer John Legend. These will roll out later this yr, and presumably, might make their strategy to the Assistant developer ecosystem as properly.
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