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Amazon launches 8 new voices for Alexa Skills
17 May 2018, 02:46 | Rudolph Thomas
Alexa developers get 8 free voices to use in skills courtesy of Amazon Polly
The online retail giant said Wednesday that developers can now apply to test the voices, which were built to sound like U.S. English speakers.
The idea is to trick the user into opening a malicious app by using voice triggers similar to the ones of authentic apps, and using the malicious apps to either phish users for sensitive data or eavesdrop on their surroundings.
With the rising popularity of Amazon's virtual assistant Alexa, HP Inc's new 34-inch curved all-in-one (AiO) PC is expected to come with the built-in digital assistant app. Before this, developers were only able to add voices to their skills by uploading an MP3 file or by creating a custom audio track, which was quite painstaking.
The free voices are provided through Poly, the Amazon Web Services text-to-speech service. Obvious use cases would be adding multiple "characters" to Skill-based games and experiences.
More recently, Amazon launched the "Remember This" feature for Alexa, essentially giving the virtual assistant a memory.
It's all part of Amazon Polly, which was created for Alexa developers back in 2017.
Below are two videos demonstrating a voice squatting attack on an Amazon Alexa and Google Home device. The accessibility of Amazon Polly will help them avoid this trouble. Those who are not chosen for the preview will still receive information on using Amazon Polly voices in Alexa skills when it is available.
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