On Thursday, Alexa gained a new skill in the US that will make the voice assistant sound more natural when reading long form content like podcasts, blog posts, and news articles.
According to a new blog post, Amazon has announced a new speaking style for its Alexa voice assistant aptly named “Long-Form Speaking Style” designed specifically to read content like this blog post.
Amazon says the long-form style is “powered by a deep-learning text-to-speech model,” and allows Alexa-voiced devices to speak with more natural conversational pauses. It follows last year’s release of new speaking styles for news and music content and a November update that allows Alexa to seem “disappointed” or “excited.”
This style gives Alexa a more natural tone to create a more engaging experience for users over relatively long periods of time. An example the company gives is using “this speaking style for customers who want to have the content on a web page read to them or listen to a storytelling section in a game,” the blog post for developers notes.
Alexa is also said to be able to intelligently place pauses when speaking to differentiate paragraphs or the dialogue of different characters, for example.
The ability is only available in US English for now, but Amazon also revealed that the Polly AWS AI service, which supports 29 languages, can use new conversation or news speaking styles. Polly also has 10 additional voices covering six new languages, like US Spanish, French Canadian and more.