Amazon is reportedly working on a new feature that would give Alexa the ability to recognize an individual’s voice signature, an anonymous source familiar with Amazon’s Alexa strategy told Time. Internally known as Voice ID, the feature has reportedly been under development since summer 2015 and would allow specific commands to be locked to a specific voice.
VentureBeat asked for additional information or confirmation of the Time report, but Amazon declined to comment.
If it’s true, Alexa could further distinguish itself from competitors like Cortana, Siri, and soon Bixby from Samsung.
Google Home will allow you to use a specific voice to wake Google Assistant, and voice training is available for Alexa-enabled devices, but none of the intelligent assistants available today are able to identify and distinguish between multiple voices.
Once made possible, unique voice signatures could fundamentally change the way voice-enabled assistants operate.
An AI assistant that recognizes the specific person speaking may be able to do things like serve up custom search results, remember clothing sizes when shopping, follow pre-set preferences, or even predict a person’s needs based on past usage or habits.
The anonymous source familiar with the matter emerged during what has already been a relatively busy week in the chat wars. On Sunday, at Mobile World Congress happening now in Barcelona, Google announced that Google Assistant is being rolled out to millions of users of Marshmallow and Nougat Android operating systems. The same day, Motorola said its Moto Mods smartphones will work with Alexa.