The female voice assistant is different from competitors from Google and Apple, each of which offers the ability to choose different voices. This has led to concerns about the gender implications of offering a female-only voice assistant.
Now the company has finally added a male voice that seems to have been dubbed “Ziggy”. The change came amid a louder announcement of the change, which added voices like Shaquille O’Neill and was first seen Surrounding…
Users can switch to a new voice by telling their echo device to “change my voice”. It looks like it is not saved in the user account, but instead is associated with each individual echo, meaning that it will have to be changed in the house.
It can also be configured using the Alexa app.
In addition to the new voice, users can also wake up the assistant by saying the word “Ziggy” along with the existing and most obvious “Alexa”, “Computer”, “Amazon” and “Echo”. The new Wakeword is clearly not associated with the new voice, but appeared at the same time.
In fact, Amazon calls two different voices in its app “Original” and “New”. Both Google and Apple use generic and non-gender names for new voices, with Apple using numbers and Google using colors.
Amazon has long discouraged the use of the words “she” or “she” in relation to Alexa, and the voice assistant itself refuses to indicate gender, although its supporting documents still use feminine pronouns.
Change comes soon after Apple announced that it will no longer use the default “male” or “female” voice for Siri., a decision he said was made as part of a concern that gender selection for a user’s voice could be a problem to turn on.
“This is a continuation of Apple’s longstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion, and products and services that are designed to better reflect the diversity of the world we live in,” the company said at the time.