Amazon gives Alexa a ‘long-form’ speech style

Amazon is continuing to make tweaks and adjustments to the experience of using its Alexa voice assistant. One of the latest developments is a long-form speaking style for the AI. This feature is designed to help skill developers to make it easier for customers to engage with a large volume of content, such as in a news article or podcast.

The long-form style of Alexa plays content with more natural pauses, like a human speaker would make, between paragraphs and dialog. For now, the feature is only available to developers in the United States.

Amazon shared clips to compare the neutral Alexa voice with the long-form style. The newest option really does sound more like the cadence you’d hear from a podcaster, complete with a slower pace and pauses that have almost become a hallmark of the field. Like with the option for a newscaster voice, the style gives more realism, but isn’t quite at the stage where you’d confuse it for a human reader.

The company also added its speaking styles to a handful of its Amazon Polly voices. This service lets developers create life-like speech in languages other than English. The news and conversational speaking styles can now be applied to the Matthew, Joanna, and Lupe voices.

Anna Washenko