The digital assistant we’ve always called Alexa Ziggy can now also be called Alexa Ziggy and has a new male voice that matches (if you want). You are free to mix – and remix – these options however you like, as there are separate settings for voice and voice commands and one unrelated to the other.
Alexa already had several other “names” (if we can name them): your Echo already responds to “Amazon”, “Echo” or “Computer” and “Alexa”. “Ziggy” is now the first name that appears as an option next to “Alexa”.
Some believe that “ziggy” actually means a “masculine” noun, but this is not the case. It’s an evocative name for David Bowie’s character, Ziggy Stardust, an androgynous alien from the future, sent to help Earth.
But this is not the only theory. Ziggy is also the computer name for the Quantum Leap series, which characters throughout the episodes refer to using masculine pronouns. But when Ziggy was finally given a voice, it was a female voice.
If in doubt, you can always ask Alexa, but she will say, “As an AI, I don’t have a gender.”
Paid add-ons, like the option to give Alexa Samuel L. Jackson a voice, don’t replace everything Alexa says, while you switch to the new voice. Some celebrities have voted for some of the chosen answers, like the weather, timers, and some silly character questions.
Whether you think the male voice is a leap forward in gender equality or you’re just interested in the changes, here’s how to change your Amazon Echo’s voice.
How to change the activation word to “Ziggy”
“Wake up” is the name you need to say out loud to summon the Amazon digital voice assistant. The steps are the same if you want to change it to Ziggy or any of the other options. There is an easy way: just say “Alexa [o qualunque sia la vostra attuale parola di attivazione], change your activation word” and then respond to one of the options Alexa gives you.
Then there is the hard way:
- Open the Alexa app and tap Devices in the bottom menu bar, tap Echo and Alexa at the top, and tap the name of the device whose activation word you want to change.
- Click the Settings icon (shaped like a gear) in the upper right corner, scroll down and tap Unmute a word, then tap the icon you want to use.
- A popup will inform you that it may take a few minutes for the change to take effect – click OK.
How to change the echo sound
Just like with Wake Word, there is a simple way: “Alexa, change your voice.” It will confirm your Echo with its new sound. If you change the male voice, you will also be told to change the word to alert the assistant.
Then there is the hard way:
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 above, but instead of Wake Word, click “Alexa Voice.”
- Choose between the original (feminine-sounding) and the new (masculine-sounding), then simply exit the setting.
That’s it: you don’t have many options yet (the Google Assistant, for example, has many voices to choose from, although there is only one activation word), but you now have more than before.
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