Future voice skills built for Alexa might respond uniquely to your voice. That’s thanks to Alexa skill personalization, a feature of the Alexa Skills Kit that enables developers to provide personalized experiences, greetings, and prompts for recognized users. Amazon launched skill personalization in preview in September, and today, it announced that it’s generally available.
“Until now, changing a skill’s behavior required a customer to configure Alexa household profiles and then manually switch between Amazon accounts,” wrote Alexa Skills senior product manager Mohit Mittal. “Personalization makes it simpler for [skill users] because now skill[s] simply [link]the person speaking to the correct account without switching profiles.”
Skill personalization leverages voice profiles, which are created through the Alexa companion app and which carry across first- or third-party Alexa-enabled devices. (Amazon notes that customers can opt out of skill personalization if they so choose even if they’ve configured a voice profile.) Alexa sends an anonymized string of characters and numbers uniquely generated from a given voice profile to skills, which skills then use to reference who’s talking and respond appropriately.
With skill personalization, a developer could personalize a game based on who’s playing or offer a customized exercise routine tailored to individual fitness goals. Moreover, voice-personalized Alexa skills could be combined with app-to-app account linking to help users discover skills and link accounts, and to deliver flows unique to their voice.
Amazon says that Uber is already using skill personalization to automatically figure out which account to use, while OneBusAway is tapping the capability to offer tailored bus commuting information. Other launch partners include Vodafone, 7-Minute Workout, Twenty Questions, SprachBox Abfrage, Vanity Planet, Intervallfasten, Party Craps, Jyanken, and Excite Horoscope.
Amazon first expanded Alexa’s use of voice-based personalization in May, when it launched a feature that automatically recognizes a user’s voice when they say “Alexa, play music.” Voice profiles also allow users to complete shopping transactions without the need to enter a four-digit pin code, and for personalized shopping results, news flash briefings, and calls and messages.