Amazon’s Alexa could soon be a lot smarter.
The company is working on a new feature that would allow its voice-enabled assistant to distinguish between different voices, according to a report form Time.
The feature, which for now is reportedly called “Voice ID,” enables Echo devices to recognize the voice of the main account holder associated with the speaker. Such a feature could be used to prevent others in the house from making purchases or using voice commands.
Though Time reports the technology has been in the works for more than a year, it’s not clear when, or if, the company will launch the feature. The underlying tech is reportedly ready, but the report speculates the Seattle-based company could be delaying the feature due to privacy concerns.
The company recently made headlines for its refusal to hand over voice data in a murder case, saying the speech was protected by the First Amendment.
Privacy worries aside, giving Alexa voice recognition powers could make the day-to-day experience of using the Echo much better. Besides reducing the number of misheard commands, learning each user’s voice could prevent mishaps like when a local news report accidentally made a bunch of Amazon Echoes buy dollhouses.
Both Apple’s Siri and Google’s Assistant have features that will learn to recognize your voice (though, in Google’s case, the feature doesn’t yet work with the company’s voice-enabled speaker, Google Home).