Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the lights on at MakeUseOf. Read more.
It’s hard to believe, but the first Amazon Echo device hit the market less than three years ago. The voice-controllable personal assistant powering the experience, Alexa, continues to learn and gain more and more features.
Currently, there are more than 20,000 different skills users can take advantage of — everything from the incredibly useful to the not-so-smart.
And as the Echo lineup continues to become more powerful and popular, many users find that more than one person in their household wants to take full advantage of all the different services and skills.
Thankfully, Amazon offers two great ways to completely personalize the experience for multiple users. Let’s take a closer look at Alexa Voice Profiles and Household Profiles and see how they can personalize daily interactions with Alexa for everyone in your home.
Alexa Voice Profiles
A new option to personalize each Echo in your home is Alexa Voice Profiles. As you could probably tell by the name, each voice profile allows Alexa to learn your individual voice and then provide a more personalized experience.
To create the first voice profile, open up the app and select Settings from the side menu. Scroll down to Your Voice to begin. Most importantly, select the device you’ll use during training.
During the session, you’ll speak 10 different phrases to Alexa. Press Next to cycle through each phrase. Amazon recommends that you mute any other voice devices and talk to Alexa from a normal distance at a quiet location.
After going through all 10 phrases, it will take 15-20 minutes for the voice profile to be complete. Just ask “Alexa, who am I?” to see if the process is complete. The assistant will say who you are and what Amazon account is active.
If for any reason you want to delete your Voice Profile, which is stored in the cloud, scroll down to the bottom of the Your Voice menu and select Forget Voice. That is a good option to try if you’re having trouble with Alexa recognizing your specific voice.
Adding Another Voice
When you’re ready to add an additional profile to the Alexa device, there are a few other ways to proceed.
The other person can download the companion app to their device and log in with the Amazon account tied to the Alexa device. You can also use your smartphone by just logging out of the app, going to the Settings part of the menu, and logging on again with the account email and password.
They’ll need to select I’m someone else and then enter the name they’d like to be known as. Then head to the same Settings > Your Voice and go through the training process.
Anyone with a Household Profile, which we’ll explain in a bit, can also add their voice profile to the home. Amazon says that with time, and use, the Echo’s voice recognition capabilities will become smarter.
How to Use
Voice profiles will come in handy in a number of situations to provide individual results when interacting with Alexa.
First, it will make using Alexa calling and messaging easier. When voice profiles are active, you don’t need to specify which messages Alexa needs to play and will send a message from the correct person. Just say “Alexa, play my messages,” “Alexa, send a message,” or “Alexa, call mom” and it will recognize which person is making the request. So, for example, Alexa will call your mother instead of your mother-in-law.
Also, when placing a voice call to another Alexa device — or someone with the Alexa app — you name will be provided as the caller.
The Amazon Music Unlimited Family Plan allows up to six family members access to the streaming music service for $14.99 per month.
Once a voice profile is set up, you will need to select your specific account on the service. It will then provide personalized music when you ask “Alexa, play music” or “Alexa, play a station.”
When requesting a flash briefing, you’ll hear the specific news report you’ve already customized. Alexa will also make sure to skip any stories you’ve already heard.
Finally, when voice shopping — since Alexa can recognize the specific voice — you’ll no longer have to provide voice confirmation code to confirm a purchase. So there’s no need to worry about anyone else making a purchase without your consent.
Another way to personalize your Echo devices to handle multiple users is with Household Profiles. That allows you to add another adult, with their own Amazon account, to access your Echo.
You can listen to either user’s music, manage account features, share specific content through the Family Library, and access your own specific news and traffic information.
To add another person to your household, they need to be present. Using the companion app go to the side menu and then Settings > Accounts > Household Profile. Follow the instructions on screen, and the other person will need to enter their account information, including a password, to complete the process.
When you add another adult to your household, they can use credit cards tied to your Amazon account to make purchases on the site.
After adding another person, just say “Alexa, switch accounts” to change users. To double-check the current account, just say “Alexa, which account is this?”
If you ever need to remove someone from a household, go the side menu and then choose Settings > Accounts > in an Amazon household with [name]. Hit Remove next to the user. If you’re removing yourself, hit Leave.
Once a user is removed, they can’t be added to another household for 180 days.
As you can see, Alexa Voice Profiles and Household Profiles are both great tools to help bring the same powerful Alexa experience to everyone in your home. Amazon is truly making its Echo lineup a multi-user computer and continues to match other features found on competing smart speakers like Google Home.
Have you used Voice Profiles or Household Profiles to customize your Alexa experience on an Echo device? Let us know how the experience has gone in the comments!