More and more Indian users are now talking to Alexa in Hindi. Amazon’s voice-enabled AI assistant, which processes "millions of requests" a day, has seen questions in Hindi go up by an impressive 52 per cent in the last one year. There are tons of voice requests made in ‘Hinglish’ too.
In addition to Amazon Echo devices, Indian customers also interact with Alexa on the Amazon shopping app for Android, Fire TV devices, and the built-in Alexa feature in speakers, TVs, smartphones, smartwatches, and more. The growth of Hindi on Alexa is in line with the tech giant’s expectations as it aims to step up localisation in the Indian market.
Dilip R.S., Country Manager for Alexa, Amazon India, says, “Voice is the most powerful, yet simplest medium to interact with anyone. We have worked hard to make the Alexa voice service easy and useful by adding support for Hindi language, and updating it with content such as local information, music, Bollywood news, cricket scores and so on.”
Amazon first launched multi-language support on Alexa devices in 2019 — two years after bringing the voice assistant to India.“India has uniquely challenged our AI teams with its cultural and linguistic diversity. We have worked to ensure that customers can interact with Alexa in different regional variants of colloquial Hindi,” Rohit Prasad, Amazon VP and Head Scientist of Alexa AI, had said at the time of launch.
Three years since, Alexa has been further embraced by the average Indian users. While Amazon doesn’t share country-specific numbers, it estimates that local language voice requests from India are made “millions of times in a day”. From playing music to seeking weather information and checking cricket scores to enabling smart home control to setting alarms/reminders and more — Indians have found a multitude of daily use cases for Alexa.
Amazon uses its Alexa Natural Language Understanding (NLU) tech to improve the multilingual model for English and Hindi languages, which has made the voice service better at responding to mixed-language (Hinglish) requests too. Alexa is now equipped to answer questions simultaneously in English, Hindi and Hinglish.
“I am excited to see the increase in usage of Alexa in Hindi over the last three years. This encourages us to keep innovating and add locally relevant information and features to Alexa,” Dilip shares.
Popular requests in Hindi
Amazon shares that the three most popular Hindi requests on Alexa are “Alexa, gaana bajaao”, “Alexa, light jalao”, and “Alexa, aaj kaun sa tyohar hai?” There is also “Alexa, kya kar rahi ho?” and “Alexa, kaisi ho?”
“Customers are making the most of their smart speakers by making hands-free requests to Alexa ranging from latest Bollywood songs to devotional mantras, and from switching on festive lighting compatible with Alexa, to asking about dates and details of upcoming festivals,” according to the company.
Given the varied tastes and preferences of India’s large internet base, users end up asking for diverse Hindi content, including chutkule (jokes), shayari (poetry from Rekhta), Kabir ke dohe (Kabir’s couplets), Panchatantra stories, Ramayan Katha, Bollywood dialogues, Alexa Originals (a selection of songs by four independent artists from India), and more.
They also get to hear the answers in the voice of Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan, who was roped in as Alexa’s first Indian celebrity voice last year to expand its “unique Indian personality”. “Customers in India will be able to access Mr Bachchan’s iconic voice on Alexa by purchasing the Amitabh Bachchan voice experience,” Amazon had stated.
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