Chris Monroe/CNET

The digital assistant I’ve at all times referred to as Alexa has a new name choice — Ziggy — and a new, masculine-sounding voice to both pair with “Ziggy” or not. You’re free to combine — and remix — these choices nonetheless you need, since there are separate settings for voice and wake phrase (and one is not linked to the opposite).

Alexa already had a number of different, er, “names” (in the event you can name them that): Your Echo system might already to reply to “Amazon,” “Echo,” or “Computer,” in addition to “Alexa.” “Ziggy” is the primary name name to seem as an choice in addition to “Alexa.” 

Some have assumed “Ziggy” alerts a “masculine” name, however I’m not so positive. For me, it is evocative of David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona — an alien androgyne from the longer term, despatched to assist Earth. 

Oh, boy, is that not the one principle. As I’ve been advised and advised once more, Ziggy can be the name of the pc in Quantum Leap, which characters referred to all through the collection utilizing masculine pronouns. When this fictional Ziggy was finally given a voice, nonetheless, it was — verify this out– voiced by a lady.

When doubtful, ask. Alexa will let you know, um, themself: “As an AI, I don’t have a gender.”

Now, earlier than I get tweetstormed concerning the three superstar voice choices you’ll be able to pay to put on your Amazon Echo system — Samuel L. Jackson, Melissa McCarthy and Shaquille O’Neal — sure, they’re gendered (as a result of they’re dwelling individuals). However, these add-ons do not substitute every thing Alexa says (altering to the new voice, nonetheless, does). Rather, these celebrities lent their voices to simply a few choose responses — like climate, timers and some goofy, personality-specific questions.

Whether you suppose a masculine-sounding voice and Ziggy are a quantum leap ahead in gender equitability — otherwise you’re simply actually into cha-cha-cha-changes — this is how to swap voices and wake phrases on your Amazon Echo speaker or show.


Amazon’s voice assistant lives on all kinds of Echo sensible audio system, shows and even ear buds.

David Carnoy/CNET

How to switch your Echo’s wake phrase to ‘Ziggy’

The “wake word” is the name you say out loud to summon Amazon’s digital voice assistant. The steps are the identical whether or not you need to change it to “Ziggy” or any of the opposite choices. There’s the straightforward means — say, “Alexa [or whatever your current wake word is], change your wake word” and then reply to one of many selections Alexa provides you. Then there’s the arduous means:

  1. Open the Alexa app, then faucet Devices on the underside menu bar, faucet Echo & Alexa on the prime, then faucet the name of the system whose wake phrase you need to change.
  2. Tap the Settings (gear) icon within the higher proper nook, then scroll down and faucet Wake Word, then faucet the one you need to use.
  3. A popup will warn you it might take a couple of minutes to take impact — faucet OK.

How to switch your Echo’s voice (with any wake phrase)

Just like with wake phrase, there’s a simple means — “Alexa, change your voice.” Your Echo system will affirm utilizing the new voice. If altering to the masculine-sounding voice, you may be advised how to change the wake phrase as properly. Then there’s the arduous means:

  1. Repeat steps 1 and 2 from above, however as an alternative of Wake Word, faucet Alexa’s Voice.
  2. Choose between Original (feminine-sounding) and New (masculine-sounding), then merely again out of that setting.

There you might have it — you continue to haven’t got a lot of choices (Google Assistant, for instance, has a number of voices to select from, though just one doable wake phrase), however you’ve got acquired extra now than ever earlier than.

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