Amazon’s Alexa will soon offer personalized responses

Amazon’s Alexa last month gained the ability to recognize different voices. Now Amazon is taking that feature a step further, by teaching its voice assistant to offer up personalized responses when it recognizes a customer’s voice.

A handful of developers are already testing this new capability, and this personalization tool will be more broadly available to developers next year, Amazon said Thursday.

The personalization ability, part of a wave of new features unveiled at Amazon Web Services’ annual re:Invent conference, could help make Alexa more enjoyable for customers to use and help cut down on the smart assistant’s sometimes canned responses. Moving forward, more personalization could help Alexa come across as more human, making people want to interact with her more often, and help the assistant carry on longer conversations.

Developers could use the new feature to create Alexa skills (Amazon’s term for voice-enabled apps) that can remember past interactions or preferences set by specific users, helping Alexa offer more personalized responses, Amazon said.

‘Alexa, be more human’: Inside Amazon’s effort to make its voice assistant smarter, chattier and more like you.

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Ben Fox Rubin