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Amazon India (screen-grab)

Amazon's Alexa will soon become accessible to a wider population in India with the team working to incorporate Indian languages in the home voice-based assistant.

"Yes, we are working on infusing regional languages capabilities in Alexa for the Indian market but these are early days," Rohit Prasad, the Vice President and Head Scientist for Alexa told IANS.

While Alexa can often understand Hinglish (a combination of Hindi and English) commands but not as well as English commands which the Indian sector is aiming at achieving. Customers can also respond to Alexa's English with native Indian languages such as Tamil, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi.

"For us, it is a contextual, cultural as well as content-related challenge as the question is not that Alexa just needs to understand Hindi. This part we can do relatively easily but Alexa needs to be Indian when it speaks in Hindi as there are several dialects and accents out there which Alexa has to understand and react accordingly," Prasad added.

"These are challenges which are not language dependent but more culture dependent. We believe in introducing a wholesome experience to delight our customers and not something that is half-baked. We are working on to solve these issues in the Indian context."

Amazon has already made an entry into Indian languages with Cleo, a skill through which Alexa helps people learn Hindi and other languages. The aim of this software was to eventually get Alexa to begin talking in Indian languages.

India is a key market for Amazon. The smart speakers market in the country, like Echo, saw a 59 per cent share in 2018 while Google Home had a 39 per cent unit share. The data has shown the company that smart devices are becoming popular in the country.