All posts in “Amazon Alexa”

How to train Amazon’s Alexa to recognize your voice

Does your Amazon Echo often misunderstand your questions and commands? Do you live in a household with other Amazon Echo users, making it difficult for Alexa to figure out who is speaking?

If so, there’s a solution. You can train Alexa to recognize you by creating a voice profile. After you set up your profile, Alexa can call you by your name and deliver personalized results based on your voice. Further, Alexa can distinguish your voice from those of other people in the house. Anyone over the age of 13 can create a voice profile. Here’s how.

Recognized voices

Open the Alexa app on your mobile device. Tap on the hamburger menu (≡) and select Settings > Alexa Account > Recognized Voices.

Talk to Alexa

Tap Your Voice. A welcome menu will explain what a voice profile is: a way for Alexa to send and play messages or place shopping orders without asking who you are. Tap Begin at the bottom of the screen.

The next page will tell you that Alexa is “now ready to get to know you.” Within five minutes of pressing the Begin button: 1) Mute other nearby devices 2) Make sure you’re in a quiet place, and 3) Get within 1-5 feet of your Echo. Then, say “Alexa learn my voice.”

Repeat after Alexa

Alexa asks for your name, then asks you to speak 10 phrases, like “Alexa, play ‘Hot Stuff’ by Donna Summer on Amazon Music,” as well as phrases that begin with Alexa’s other wake words: Amazon, Echo, and Computer.

Repeat each phrase after Alexa. When you’re done, Alexa says it’s nice to meet you and suggests you ask her to do something to try out your new voice profile, such as make a call, send a message, or play music.

Add another voice

To add another member of a household, have them sign into the Alexa app on their mobile device or log out on your phone and log in with their Amazon account. Then have them go through the steps above. If at any point Alexa has trouble identifying the correct person speaking, you can correct her to ensure it doesn’t happen again later.

Delete your Alexa voice profile

Was your throat a little scratchy the day you recorded your voice? You can delete and start again. Tap on the hamburger menu (≡) and select Settings > Alexa Account > Recognized Voices > Your Voice. Under the “Your Voice” section, tap “Delete my voice.”

Help Alexa recognize speakers

The Your Voice menu offers several other options, too. Tap “Learn my voice” if you want to go through another training session with Alexa. To train Alexa even further, you can play a series of recorded phrases from someone with a voice profile. You then tap the name of the person who uttered the phrase so Alexa can more easily identify each speaker. To set this up, tap “Get started.”

Who is speaking?

At the next screen, tap Begin. Play the first phrase and then tap the name of the speaker. Play the next phrase and tap the name of the speaker. Continue with each screen until you’re done. Tap Finish.

Listen to more phrases

At the “Great job!” screen, tap Exit to leave the training or tap “Listen to More Phrases” for additional training. If you opt to listen to more phrases, the Alexa app takes you through another round of recordings. After the second series of recordings, you can listen to even more phrases. But if you feel Alexa has gotten the hang of the voices in your household, just exit the training.

‘Alexa, who am I?’

Now, you can ask Alexa to perform certain tasks, and she should respond accordingly without having to ask who you are. Ask Alexa to play your messages, send a message, call another person, shop at Amazon, play a flash briefing, or play music, and she’ll provide a personalized experience based on your voice profile.

Even if you switch to another person’s account, Alexa should be able to identify you by voice. If you want to make sure Alexa knows who you are, say: “Alexa, who am I?” or “Alexa, whose profile is this?”

For help or feedback on using voice profiles, return to the Recognized Voices screen and tap the link for Need Help with Voice Profiles?

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This article originally published at PCMag
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This $40 talking fish has Amazon Alexa inside

Big Mouth Billy Bass is now a smart speaker accessory.
Big Mouth Billy Bass is now a smart speaker accessory.

Image: Bob Al-Greene/Mashable

Attention, Amazon Echo owners: You can now purchase an Alexa-enabled Big Mouth Billy Bass that plugs into your smart speaker.

That’s right. Developer Brian Kane is finally getting his wish. Back in 2016, Kane hacked the iconic singing fish to be a mouthpiece for Alexa.

Now, right in time for the holiday season, Big Mouth Billy Bass is becoming a certified Alexa gadget. 

At $39.99, you’ll get the classic singing and dancing fish from the 90s with the ability to connect to Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant. The only catch is that you will need to connect it to an Echo for it to work. The other caveat is that it only works with Amazon-made Echo devices.

The fish itself will react, respond, and dance along with the commands you dictate. It will lip sync the responses, which is, frankly, pretty terrifying no matter how look at it.

Singing is one thing, but the fish talking as Alexa might be too much.

Singing is one thing, but the fish talking as Alexa might be too much.

Image: amazon

Just imagine setting an alarm and being woken up by a Big Mouth Billy Bass dancing and flopping around while it sings to you. We can’t imagine that is the healthiest way to say, “Hello world, time to start another day!” But of course, to each their own.

It’s unclear if Big Mouth Billy Bass will dance to literally every response or just music, but the Amazon listing makes it clear that it will dance to songs on Amazon Music. Even more surprising, it should receive updates post-launch as well.

If you’re o-fish-ally interested in what will certainly be a weird and memorable gift, pre-orders are open now with a Dec. 1 release date

At a minimum, it’s yet another oppor-tuna-ty to expand Alexa in your home.

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Alexa is now available on Windows 10 PCs

Alexa is now available for Windows 10 PCs.
Alexa is now available for Windows 10 PCs.

Image: JHILA FARZANEH/MASHABLE

Amazon’s popular voice assistant Alexa continues to invade our everyday lives.

The online retail giant announced today that it’s releasing an Alexa app for all Windows 10 PCs. The voice assistant was previously available on only select Windows 10 laptops, but starting today, you’ll see it officially in the Microsoft Store for everyone.

What’s great is that you can use the app on both Windows 10 computers and the Xbox One. And yes, Alexa can live in harmony with Cortana, the voice assistant built into Windows 10

To get started, simply download the app and launch it. Then, log into your Amaxon account or create a new one. Some devices will work with the wake word “Alexa,” but on others, you maybe need to click or use a keyboard shortcut in order to activate the assistant. 

Alexa for the PC has a basic user interface.

Alexa for the PC has a basic user interface.

Image: Windows store

Just like an Amazon Echo, Alexa can control smart home devices, tell you the weather, crack jokes, and answer general knowledge questions. Plus, you can use it to make lists and see them visually in the app. 

Amazon is quick to note that some traditional requests and features will not be available. For now, that list includes video, communications, Spotify, and Pandora. The company has not said if they’ll arrive in the future. 

While that is clearly a downside, Alexa gets updates pretty frequently. For 2019, Amazon is planning to add PC controls which will allow you to use Alexa to interact with your PC. These will be specific commands, which shows an inherent interest in expanding the voice assistant on this platform.

It’s not going to overtake Cortana just yet. But, if Amazon sticks to the promise of improving and adding new features to Alexa for PC, it will at least be a great alternative.

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Sonos delays Google Assistant integration until 2019, private beta to launch in 2018

Sonos today announced that Google Assistant will not be available on its products until at least 2019. The service was supposed to launch in 2018 but the company said in a blog posting it needs a bit more time. Additional information about timing will be released in early 2019, Sonos says.

Eager customers can sign-up for a private beta as long as they agree to use the service extensively and respond to surveys within a few days.

Sonos products already have access to Amazon Alexa. Given Sonos’s long-standing notion of supporting all platforms, it makes sense that the company would want customers to have access to both Alexa and Google Assistant. That’s what makes Sonos compelling: They provide the hardware, and owners use whatever software platform they want.

This is clearly critical for Sonos. For a long time, Sonos provided the best-sounding smart speaker system on the market but Amazon, Google and traditional speaker brands are quickly introducing speakers that provide similar sound quality. To keep up and justify the higher price of its hardware, Sonos needs to offer owners the best sound and the best software, and offering Google Assistant on its products is a key part of that goal.

Amazon Alexa goes AWOL for many users

Some Amazon Alexa users are currently having problems reaching the voice assistant. Instead of reacting to commands, Alexa simply says “sorry, something went wrong.” Amazon hasn’t commented publicly yet on the issue.

Based on tweets and Down Detector, users began having trouble reaching Alexa around 7AM PST. While some had their connection issues resolved quickly, many others are still waiting.

This follows an outage last month that mainly affected Echo devices in parts of the United Kingdom, Spain, Germany, and Australia. According to Down Detector’s outage map, however, most of the users who currently can’t reach Alexa are in the United States.

Alexa also suffered an outage in March after an Amazon Web Services networking issue.

TechCrunch has contacted Amazon for comment.