Amazon’s Alexa can now distinguish between different voices and respond appropriately

Amazon has added voice recognition to Alexa. The new feature allows Alexa to know who in your household is talking and give personalized responses, eliminating the need to switch profiles.

Voice recognition for Alexa is starting to roll out today and should be available on all devices by the end of the week. In order to use the feature, you must first teach Alexa your voice and the voice of anyone else in your household that you want Alexa to recognize.

To teach Alexa your voice, open the Alexa app and select Settings from the menu in the upper left corner of the screen. Scroll down to the Accounts section of the Settings screen and select “Your Voice” from the list of options.

You’ll then be asked to select one of your Alexa devices to use as the voice training tool. You’ll want to select a device that is in a quiet room because you’ll be asked to speak 10 sentences to the Alexa device. It’s a good idea to mute the microphone on any other Alexa devices that might be close enough to hear you speaking to the device you’re using for voice training, since the 10 sentences are all standard Alexa requests.

After completing voice training, it’ll take about 15-20 minutes for your Alexa devices to distinguish your voice from the voice of others. You can ask “Alexa, who am I?” to know when Alexa has learned your voice.

In order to train your Alexa devices to distinguish the voices of other people, you have two options. If the person is a member of your Amazon Household, they can simply log into the Alexa app from any device using their own Amazon login information and complete the same voice training steps that you completed.

If the person is not part of your Amazon Household or they don’t have an Amazon account of their own, you can use your own Amazon account to train their voice. You’ll first need to log out of the Alexa app and then log back in using your own Amazon account. After logging in, you will be asked if you are yourself or if you are someone else. Select that you are someone else and enter the name of the person that you want to teach Alexa to recognize. That person will then go through the voice training steps and will be recognized by your Alexa devices.

Once Alexa is able to distinguish between different people, it will be able to give custom responses to each person, without needing to first switch profiles. Alexa will automatically learn each person’s music tastes based on their voice and what they commonly ask to play. Each person will then be able to simply say “Alexa, play music” or “Alexa, play a station” and receive recommended music that matches their taste.

Alexa’s calling and messaging capabilities will also automatically recognize who is making a request and respond appropriately. When someone that Alexa recognizes asks to call a specific individual, Alexa will know whos list of contacts to use, regardless of which profile is currently the active profile. Asking Alexa to “play my messages” will also automatically play only the messages sent to the recognized individual and saying “send a message” will mark the message from the recognized speaker.

Voice shopping now becomes much more secure with recognized voices. Alexa will no longer need to ask for the speaker’s voice shopping PIN before placing an Amazon order if the speaker’s voice is recognized. Another handy improvement comes to flash briefings. If you ask to play your flash briefing, Alexa will remember which stories you’ve already heard if it recognizes the speaker and will only play stories you haven’t heard yet if you ask for the news again later in the day.

This is probably just the start of how deep voice recognition will be integrated into all the various things Alexa can do. Assuming it works correctly, it should make using Alexa devices in a home with multiple people much more secure and pleasant.

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11 comments
  1. Erin says:

    I wonder if this will also solve the concern about anyone who’s near your device having the ability to request order tracking notifications.

  2. Don Black says:

    Ok, if you have children and they do not have an amazon account, but are a part of your household. Then how will they be able to setup this voice recognition. This is why amazon needs to introduce profiles, so that members can have their own profile and link there devices to them. Each member in my house has multiple devices, echo, echo dot, kindle, echo show, and other amazon integrated devices.

  3. FireTVNoob says:

    Amazon really needs to stop lumping the UK with the Germans, and update at the same time as the USA. IF they did that, the UK wouldn’t have to wait so long for updates!

    No sign of having this update here in the UK any time soon! We still can’t control a Fire TV through an Echo yet!

    • boudyka says:

      agree, but that said….good thing Amazon has dispensed with EMEA, or we would be still using RPI’s connected to the US and/or US PO boxes.

  4. Sebastian says:

    Just a quick question: as it’s currently not possible to listen to Spotify from a non-primary Alexa profile, will I also not be able to listen to music anymore if I’m not the primary profile user?

  5. Joe says:

    Does the voice pin always go away if you set up voice training because if so that is a deal breaker.

  6. AR says:

    “You’ll first need to log out of the Alexa app and then log back in using your own Amazon account.”

    why just why?
    why not just have a section where you just add new voice profiles in the app without having to log out and back in again, makes no sense

    and when do they plan on adding room recognition

    i have a dot in the bedroom and a dot in the livingroom and a TV in both rooms i would like to be able to say alexa TV on and have it know which TV i want turned on ,right now i have to use anymote skill for 1 TV and use RM taskt plugin for the other, the anymote skill requires a ridiculous amount of syntax , also having to specify on which tv adds too much syntax ,we should be able to group lights and devices like TV’s etc
    into rooms with our echo devices so if we say some generic command like “lights on” or “”tv on” without specifying the exact device name
    like “bedroom lights on” or “living room TV on” it will assume we want to turn on the TV or lights that in that room group which the echo device is grouped in

    • Erin says:

      The room recognition you’re describing is coming this fall and was announced at the event at the end of September.

    • Don Black says:

      I set my devices based on the room, if I say Alexa turn on Bedroom Tv, it knows which one. I guess it may depend on what type of television you have too. I am using Sony’s Android TV.

  7. Riddlr says:

    I think more time needs to be spent on having her hear better let alone distinguish between voices – I am always yelling at Alexa – not very tolerant of minor room noise. I can’t count how many times I get the Jeopardy question correct to only have her say ‘No, Sorry’ and then say what I just said. Not very popular at our house I am afraid.

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