An intro to wake words

Published: May 20, 2019

Voice assistant speakers are taking the world by storm and are the perfect gateway into smart home technologies. When you want to communicate with your voice assistant speaker you’ll say a wake word (or phrase), such as “Alexa”, “Ok Google” or “Hey Siri” to get its attention.

What happens next?

The microphones on the device will start listening to your command and process your speech in a cloud server. Your speaker contains powerful software called a voice assistant, which can do all kinds of daily tasks including ordering a pizza or an Uber. It’s always on standby, ready at your beck and call – for anything as simple as reading a recipe while your hands are occupied, to controlling a series of ‘scenes’ or custom automations in your home.

Can I change the wake word?

While you may not have an issue calling out “Hey Siri” to your Apple HomePod or “Hey Google” to your Google Home, calling out “Alexa” to a device in your home may not be suitable for everyone. For example, what happens if you have a person in your household called Alexa or Alex? To make life for that person a lot less confusing, thankfully Amazon has an exclusive feature that allows you to change your wake word in the Alexa app settings to “computer”, “Amazon”, “Echo” or similar!

  1. Tap Alexa Devices in app menu
  2. Select device you want to change
  3. Tap Wake Word
  4. Select desired option
  5. Tap

Can I change the way my speaker sounds?

Changing Alexa’s speech

If you’re wanting to feel more culturally at home (or are just bored with the way it sounds), Alexa has the ability to change its accent and tone of voice. Try Australian-English, British-English, Indian-English and more. Just keep in mind, Alexa’s brain will also be tricked into thinking you’re living in that country, which may affect local weather reports and answers to questions. Here’s how to make the changes:

  1. Tap Alexa Devices in app meny
  2. Select Device you want to change
  3. Scroll down. Tap Languages
  4. Select language you want via drop down box
  5. Tap Save changes

Changing Google’s speech

You can switch between a female and male voice or an accent when using the Google Assistant (just keep in mind this feature is not available in all languages yet). To change the voice on your Google Home:

  1. Open the Google Home app on your Android phone or tablet
  2. Open the left side menu
  3. Tap More settings
  4. Tap Preferences > Assistant voice
  5. Choose the voice you want from the numbered list, ranging from deep to soft, from male (even numbers) to female (odd numbers)

Changing Siri’s speech

Apple Siri has a default female voice, but that can be changed to a male one in the settings. You can also choose from an American, British or Australian accent in iOS:

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Tap Siri & Search
  3. Tap Siri Voice
  4. Select the voice accent and gender you prefer

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