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Amazon's Alexa. (Reuters)
Amazon's Alexa. (Reuters)

Amazon will add Amitabh Bachchan’s voice to Alexa later this year

  • The actor will be the first celebrity voice for Alexa in India and the feature will be available later this year
  • In a blog post, Amazon said users will have to purchase the voice experience for Alexa

e-Commerce giant Amazon on Monday announced that the company has partnered with Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan to create a celebrity voice for its digital assistant, Alexa. The actor will be the first celebrity voice for Alexa in India and the feature will be available later this year.

It doesn’t seem like Bachchan’s voice will be available for free though. In a blog post, Amazon said users will have to purchase the voice experience for Alexa. “It will include popular offerings like jokes, weather, shayaris, motivational quotes, advice and more," the company said in its post.

While Bachchan is the first celebrity voice from India, he isn’t the first one globally. The company first worked with a celebrity in the United States (US), when it introduced actor Samuel L. Jackson’s voice for the voice assistant. In fact, many social media users had asked Amazon to work with Bachchan at the time.

The company has also used professional voice actors in the past, to enable impersonations of Shakespeare and Mark Twain. There are also ways to tell Alexa to have Tonight Show host Jimmy Falon tell you a joke.

Amazon usually adds celebrity voices at a separate skill, so it’s likely that Bachchan’s voice will be used the same way. Jackson’s voice was priced at $0.99 (approximately Rs72) when it launched last year. Users could say, “Alexa, introduce me to Samuel L. Jackson", to buy the skill for Alexa.

It’s worth noting that celebrity skills don’t replace Alexa’s main voice. Having them as a skill means they work like an app meant for Alexa. So, you enter the skill and use certain pre-made features, which in this case includes telling you the weather details, jokes and more. It’s unclear whether Bachchan’s skill will be the same as Jackson’s, but some similarities can be expected.

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