As Indian as it gets? Amazon could be working to make Alexa speak Hindi next
While Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa is claimed to be learning the Indian accents of English along with some particular words in Hindi (and other regional languages), the company is now working towards implementing Hindi voice commands on Alexa, according to a source familiar with the matter. Alexa currently supports Hindi voice commands for limited skill sets, which are still nascent. However, the support for regional languages will bolster a user base that speaks Hindi as the first language, said the sources, echoing the idea of letting users access AI-powered voice assistant regardless of the knowledge of English language.
Amazon Echo and other speakers from partner companies are powered by Alexa, which was launched with support for Hinglish – a mix of Hindi and English languages. Alexa currently widely supports terms such as ‘atta’, ‘jeera’, and other grocery items, in addition to Hindi proper nouns like Bollywood songs and other Hindi names. The support for complete Hindi voice commands will attract the users who are either nescient of English language or fondly prefer speaking Hindi over English, said the source cited above, requesting anonymity.
The Hindi voice commands are currently supported on the skill sets that let you know about the heart-related information such as cardiac arrest, as well as Bollywood trivia. The sources informed that a new skill set could be in the offing that will offer Panchang to Alexa users in Hindi language. The queries based on the Hindu calendar will be entertained by Alexa, in sync with the aforementioned skill set.
Presently, Alexa only supports Hindi on a limited number of skill sets that instead of offering a recorded message, dynamically respond to the queries made. These skill sets come with a predefined option list in the Hindi language that can be chosen using Hindi as the command voice. Amazon could be working towards widening the support for Hindi on other skill sets. Amazon declined to comment.
Amazon is continuously working on its products to match up with the incumbents that are deep-rooted in the Indian market. The company last year introduced three new offerings in India – Amazon Echo speakers, Amazon Prime Music, and its voice assistant Alexa. The Amazon Echo speakers were enjoying the title of perhaps the pioneer in the Indian smart speaker market.
However, Google earlier this week launched the Google Home and Home Mini speakers to expand its hardware business in India, which saw a lacklustre kickstart ever since Pixel smartphones debuted in India. Google is now hopeful about the new smart speakers that are powered by Google Assistant to cater to the Indian users and their everyday needs, which is mainly because Google understands the Indian languages and contexts better than most of the other tech companies operating here. Google also said on the sidelines of the Google Home launch that the support for Hindi will be rolled out in coming weeks.
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