Amazon gives Alexa a new name

‘Ziggy’ can be enabled on Amazon speakers through the app or an Echo Show’s settings menu

Related video: Alexa can channel the voices of the dead, Amazon says

Amazon has launched a new wake word for its Echo devices in the UK.

“Ziggy” is the fifth wake word option for Echo devices in addition to “Alexa”, “Amazon”, “Computer” and “Echo”. 

Customers can change the wake word of their Echo device customers via the Alexa app or the Settings screen on Echo Show devices, and all wake words options can be used with either the male or female voice options for Alexa.

“We are constantly looking for ways to offer our customers more choices so they can personalise their Alexa experience,” said Dennis Stansbury, the Alexa UK country manager for Amazon.

“The wake word is very important as Alexa devices are specially designed to only detect the user’s chosen wake word.  Our devices detect wake words by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word, so a lot of consideration goes into the selection. 

“We chose ‘Ziggy’ not only because it performed well in testing, but because it’s fun and reflects Alexa’s wealth of knowledge on everything from A to Z.   As an aside, I am a self-confessed David Bowie fan, so I am enjoying saying ‘Ziggy, play Ziggy’ and ‘Ziggy, play guitar’ to my Echo device.”

The ‘Ziggy’ voice was first revealed in July this year, when it was spotted that Amazon had added a more masculine-sounding voice to its speakers.

The voices are not saved across a users’ account but instead be associated with each individual Echo, meaning that it will have to be changed across a house.

The new wakeword was not explicitly associated with the new voice, but arrived at the same time. In the app, Amazon referred to the two different voices as “Original” and “New”.

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