Amazon today announced that starting in early 2018, developers will be able to build Alexa skills that recognize unique human voices. Personalized voice profiles are set up through the account of the primary user of an Alexa-enabled device and can be extended to up to 10 users.
Voice profiles that recognize up to 10 users were first made available last month. Called Your Voice by Amazon, up to 10 user profiles can be attached to a single Alexa-enabled device. This type of personalization makes it possible for Alexa to make sure that it delivers the right flash briefings when a person says “What’s the latest news?,” uses the right contacts when you say “Call work,” or delivers tailored music results if you have the Amazon Music Unlimited Family Plan.
It also powers personalization for shopping.
Letting third-party Alexa skills identify users based on voice could potentially lead to native payments for Alexa skills. Today payments for skills like Starbucks or WingStop are often entered via websites or apps for preset orders.
Personalization for Amazon voice apps could also lead to more Alexa skills made especially for games. From Alexa Accelerator investments to reports of CEO Jeff Bezos’ gaming interest, games with Alexa-enabled devices have become a larger part of initiatives by Amazon to grow its Alexa skills ecosystem in the second half of 2017. Last month, When in Rome, one of the first known board games led by Amazon’s Alexa made its debut, the product of Alexa Accelerator graduate Sensible Object. A series of six board games called Voice Originals are due out next year.
Echo Buttons preorders for games with Alexa skills started for the first time last week and are due out December 19.
Also announced today, and coming in the first quarter of 2018, Alexa skills will gain the ability to send push notifications that light up the ring of an Echo device and make noise. Applications for a developer preview is available today for skills in the U.S., the U.K., and Germany.