Alexa developers get 8 free voices to use in skills, courtesy of Amazon Polly – TechCrunch

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Now Alexa’s voice apps don’t must sound like Alexa. Amazon at this time is providing a means for builders to provide their voice apps a novel character with the launch of eight free voices to make use of in expertise, courtesy of the Amazon Polly service. The voices are solely accessible in U.S. English, and embody a mixture of each female and male, based on 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 at this time 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 this time helps a pair dozen languages, solely the U.S. English voices are being supplied to Alexa builders presently.

However their addition might make a few of Alexa’s expertise extra participating – particularly these involving completely 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 strategy 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-record an mp3.

Amazon has been working to make Polly extra accessible to a wider viewers, just lately by providing a WordPress plugin that would flip your posts into podcasts.

The brand new Alexa expertise 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 yr, and presumably, might make their approach to the Assistant developer ecosystem as effectively.

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