Amazon’s Alexa speaks Hinglish, can order haldi, atta, jeera on your command


She knows your living room err… drawing room well. Hindi words like jeera (cumin), haldi (turmeric), atta (flour) and other household items are on the tip of her tongue. She can play music from the Bollywood blockbuster film “Dil Chahta Hai” and recount stories from the ancient Panchatantra children’s fables. This is Indian Alexa virtual assistant.

After announcing its premium voice activated Echo range of wireless speakers for Indian market, Amazon is planning to make it Indianized with Hinglish.

Amazon has given local makeover to the Alexa virtual assistant that powers the speakers. This Alexa uses a blend of Hindi and English and speaks with an unmistakably Indian accent.

“Alexa is not a visiting American, she has a very Indian personality. We wanted our devices to talk, walk and feel Indian,” said Parag Gupta, head of product management for Amazon Devices in India.

He added that Amazon never wanted local customers to have to change their behavior to use these devices. “We want to learn and get better over time.”

For the Indian market, Amazon has slashed 30 percent off the price tag of its devices. Amazon has also worked with third-party developers who have built more than 10,000 extensions for Alexa — from summoning cabs through Ola to recommending Deepika Padukone movies to finding the perfect recipe for Hyderabad biryani.

According to experts, global players, including Amazon has realized the large and diverse demography of India. The country needs a more Indian version of virtual assistant which could understand Indian english.

Alphabet Inc. has also introduced a Hinglish-speaking Google Assistant that powers its instant messaging app Allo. Apple began advertising last year to hire native Hindi/Indian English speakers to help evolve and enrich Siri by crafting culturally appropriate dialog for India.

“We are doing every single thing to make the Siri experience better for Indian consumers,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive officer, told an Indian newspaper.

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