Alexa, Meet Ziggy: How to Mix and Match Amazon Echo’s New Name and Voice Options



Chris Monroe / CNET

What’s in a name? What we call Alexa with any other name it would sound so sweet. So Alexa would do it, if Amazon’s voice assistant wasn’t called Alexa, it would instead be summoned with a new wake word: Ziggy.

Without much ado, Amazon recently added Ziggy to the list of words that you can use to get the attention of your Amazon Echo speaker or display. You can only choose one wake word per Echo device, but each Echo can be configured with its own wake word, meaning you can now have an Alexa, a Ziggy, an Amazon, an Echo, or a computer at your beck and call.

If you’ve grown tired of Alexa’s hitherto female voice, which until now was the only option you had, Amazon also unveiled a new male-sounding voice, which can, but doesn’t have to be, paired with Ziggy or any other. word of alert.

In other words, the appearance of Ziggy at the same time as a male voice option should not be taken as an implication that one specifically belongs to the other. Rather, you’re free to mix and match trigger words with either voice, and if you have a bunch of Amazon Echos in your house, that’s at least one. very good reason to do it.

However, that still doesn’t address the real question at the heart of Amazon’s recent smart speaker update: Who is Ziggy? For me, it’s reminiscent of David Bowie. Ziggy stardust person – an androgynous alien from the future, sent to help Earth. Makes sense right?

Oh boy, where did I go wrong. Ziggy, as a couple of Twitter denizens pointed out to me, is also the name of the computer on the TV show. Quantum leap. Interestingly, while the characters referred to Ziggy throughout the series using masculine pronouns, when this fictional Ziggy was finally voiced, it was voiced by a woman.

If you want, you can ask Alexa’s gender and the voice assistant will explain: “As an AI, I don’t have a gender.”

Now, before someone tweets about the three celebrity voice options, you can pay to install them on your Amazon Echo device: Samuel L. Jackson, Melissa mccarthy other Shaquille O’Neal – those plugins do not replace everything Alexa says (as does the new voice option), just a few selected answers, like the weather, timers, and some silly, personality-specific questions.

Whether you think a masculine-sounding voice and the name Ziggy are a breakthrough in gender equality or you just like cha-cha-cha swaps, here’s how to swap voices and wake up words on your speaker or Amazon Echo screen. .


Amazon’s voice assistant lives in all kinds of speakers, displays, and even Echo smart headphones.

David Carnoy / CNET

Change your Echo’s trigger word to Ziggy like this

The activation word is the name you say to activate the Amazon digital voice assistant; the default wake word is Alexa. The steps are the same regardless of which option you want to change it to. There’s the easy way: say “Alexa [or whatever your current wake word is]”Change your activation word” and then respond to one of the options offered by the voice assistant. Then there is the slower way:

1. Open the Alexa app, then touch Devices in the bottom menu bar, tap Echo and Alexa at the top, then tap the name of the device for which you want to change the wake word.

2. Tap on the Settings icon (gear) in the upper right corner, then scroll down and tap Wake up the word, then touch the one you would like to use.

3. A pop-up window will warn you that it may take a few minutes to take effect; I touched okay.

Change your Echo’s voice (using any trigger word) this way

As with the wake word, there is a voice command to change Alexa’s voice: “Alexa, change your voice.” Your echo device will confirm that you are using the new voice. If you switch to the male-sounding voice, you will also be told how to change the trigger word. Or you can do it in Settings:

1. Repeat steps 1 and 2 above, but instead of Wake up the word, faucet Alexa’s voice.

2. Choose between original (which sounds feminine) and New (male sound), then just get out of that environment.

There you have it – you don’t have many options yet (Google Assistant, for example, has multiple voices to choose from, though only one possible wake word), but now you have more than ever.