Amazon rolls out India’s first celebrity voice on Alexa with Amitabh Bachchan – TechCrunch


Amazon has rolled out India’s first celeb voice characteristic on Alexa with the nation’s largest film star Amitabh Bachchan as the corporate makes a push to lure extra customers on the planet’s second-most populated nation.

The corporate, which rolled out the voice of Samuel Jackson on Alexa within the U.S. in 2019, stated customers in India can add the Bollywood legend’s voice to their Echo units (beginning right now) or Amazon purchasing app (in a number of weeks) for an introductory worth of 149 Indian rupees ($2) for the primary yr. (Beginning second yr, the annual worth will transfer to $4.)

The 78-year-old actor is offering Amazon with tales from his life, a choice of poems from his father, tongue twisters, and motivational quotes. Amazon prospects may ask Alexa to play music, set alarms, get climate updates and get solutions in Bachchan’s signature model.

And the corporate stated it’s also making use of neural speech expertise to make Alexa sound like Bachchan even when there’s no direct pre-recording. (Amit ji, remind me to ask you about Amazon’s antitrust state of affairs in India later right now.)

Picture credit: Amazon

“Working with Amazon to introduce my voice on Alexa was a brand new expertise in bringing collectively the magic of voice expertise and inventive creativity. I’m excited that my well-wishers can now work together with me through this new medium, and searching ahead to listen to how they really feel about this,” stated Bachchan in an announcement.

A family title, Bachchan emerged as Bollywood’s high star within the 1970s taking part in characters who battled corruption and social injustice. He has additionally carried out scores of commercials for manufacturers and initiatives from every thing together with hair oil, biscuits, chilly drinks, jewellery, state tourism, banks to UNICEF-backed polio vaccination marketing campaign.

The corporate introduced its collaboration with Bollywood legend final yr. However the pandemic pressured Amazon’s engineering groups to work remotely for this mission. There have been additionally further problems. Globally, customers can set off Alexa with one-word wake alert. Alexa, do that, as an illustration. However in case of Bachchan, Amazon has introduce a two-word wake system to Alexa. “Amit ji.” (The place ‘ji’ is a Hindi phrase to pay respect.)

“At Amazon & Alexa, we persistently innovate on behalf of our prospects and constructing the Amitabh Bachchan celeb voice expertise with one in every of India’s most iconic voices has been a labor of affection. Creating the world’s first bi-lingual celeb voice required us to invent & re-invent throughout virtually each ingredient of speech science – wake phrase, speech recognition, neural text-to-speech and extra,” stated Puneesh Kumar, Nation Chief for Alexa, Amazon India, in an announcement.

“Whereas we’re happy with the various India-first improvements and desi-delighters on this, it’s nonetheless Day 1 and we’ll proceed to complement this expertise as science evolves.”

India is a key abroad marketplace for Amazon, which has deployed over $6.5 billion and is more and more making funding in startups. This isn’t the primary time the corporate has signed up Bachchan for one in every of its companies. The corporate final yr acquired Bachchan’s “Gulabo Sitabo” film rights for streaming globally on Prime Video.


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