Users can now ask Alexa for Hindi content such as Bollywood dialogues, jokes, games, shayaris, Panchatantra stories, Kabir ke dohe, and even spellings in Hindi.
Amazon on Wednesday announced that Alexa will now support both Hindi and English, enabling it to understand and respond to queries in both languages. However, what takes the cake is the fact that Alexa is now fluent in Hinglish too. One can now give the smart assistant commands like “Alexa, Bollywood ke latest gane sunao” or “Alexa, cricket score batao.”
Rohit Prasad, vice president and head scientist, Alexa AI, said at a press conference in New Delhi that because of India’s unique cultural and linguistic diversity, Amazon worked hard to have Hindi support for Alexa. Prasad said that the company went as far as creating a skill to help Alexa brush up its Hindi and improve. He added that Alexa worked in Indian English for more than two years, which he attributed to “deep learning”. And now Amazon has revealed that over 500 skills on the store will support Hindi.
Incidentally, a few months ago, a Hindi voice model was added to Alexa Skills Kit by Amazon so that developers could update their skills in India focusing on a popular local language in the country.
The fact that Alexa will be able to move freely between English and Hindi, Prasad said, will greatly help those who are multilingual and will also be agreat addition to such households.
How to set up Hindi in Alexa
To set up Hindi in Alexa one can simply ask, “Alexa, help me set up Hindi.” Those who own Echo devices in India can switch the language to Hindi by going to the Language options in the Device settings on the Alexa App. Echo Show owners can go to the settings section to switch the language by swiping down from the top of the screen.
Users can now enquire Alexa for Hindi content such as Bollywood dialogues, jokes, games, shayaris, Panchatantra stories, Kabir ke dohe, and even spellings in Hindi.
Smart Speaker battle in India – Google vs Amazon
It is interesting to note that Google smart speakers had added support for Hindi late in 2018. Amazon’s Alexa finally learning Hindi is seen by many as a move to counter rival Google and gain a share of the Indian market.
As per a March 2019 report by International Data Corp (IDC) titled “India Monthly Smart Speaker Device Tracker”, the Amazon Echo Smart Speaker sells more than Google Home in India. The report revealed that Amazon Echo is in the lead in Indian smart speakers market having 59 per cent share in the year 2018, with Google Home taking the second spot having 39 per cent unit share.
Smart speakers made their debut in the Indian market in the last leg of 2017 when Amazon rolled out the Echo range in the country and it seems that it wishes to maintain its lead over others.