Now Alexa’s voice apps don’t must sound like Alexa. Amazon right now 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 abilities, courtesy of the Amazon Polly service. The voices are solely accessible in U.S. English, and embrace a mixture of each female and male, in keeping with Amazon Polly’s web site.
Amazon Polly was first launched 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.
While the speech engine right now helps a pair dozen languages, solely the U.S. English voices are being provided to Alexa builders presently.
But their addition might make a few of Alexa’s abilities extra partaking – particularly these involving totally different characters, like an journey story or recreation, for instance.
Developers right now could already be utilizing a number of voices of their abilities, however the technique of doing so is extra cumbersome and inflexible, as with mp3 file uploads.
To use an Amazon Polly voice as a substitute, builders would use Structured Speech Markup Language (SSML) after which specify which voice they need with the “voice name” tag. This makes it simpler to regulate what is claimed, as builders might simply change the textual content as a substitute of getting to re-record an mp3.
Amazon has been working to make Polly extra accessible to a wider viewers, not too long ago by providing a WordPress plugin that would flip your posts into podcasts.
The new Alexa abilities integration, in the meantime, offers Polly one other avenue of reaching customers. It’s additionally one other technique of competing with Alexa’s rival, Google Assistant. At Google’s developer convention final week, the corporate introduced six new voices generated by Wavent, together with one from singer John Legend. These will roll out later this 12 months, and presumably, might make their strategy to the Assistant developer ecosystem as effectively.