Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo series is undoubtedly the best smart speaker range not only in global regions and also in India too, as they can take commands in natural conversations just like any human interactions. But, the only qualm, particularly in the subcontinent, is that it can't understand local lingo barring a few Hindi phrases.

Now, Amazon has added a new Alexa skill 'Cleo' that helps users teach Echo smart speaker to understand Hindi, Tamil, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali, Telugu, Gujarati and other Indian local languages. Along with machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI)-based Alexa digital assistance will be able to understand the intricacies and catchphrases of the regional language and serve customers back with their mother tongue in future.

Going by the strides made by Amazon engineers in the recent past with regard to improving the Alexa, we believe the time is not that far for Indians to have a conversation with Amazon Echo speakers in their own regional language.

Amazon, Alexa, Cleo, Echo, smart speakers, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil,
Amazon launches new Alexa skill Cleo to enable Indian users teach local language to Echo speakers and in turn serve them back in future in same regional dialect.Amazon India press kit

"The process of creating new languages for Alexa benefits from advances in data availability, computing power, and a subset of artificial intelligence called machine learning, in which systems improve organically as they incorporate more data. Cleo's availability in India will help improve Alexa's language model and help her to gradually speak in local languages. Built by a team of linguists and data scientists who share a passion for languages and dialects from around the world, Cleo has already helped improve Alexa's understanding of languages such as French," the company said. 

How to get started:

Open the Amazon Alexa app on the phone>> tap the sandwich icon in the left>>tap the Skils>> type Cleo>> enable Cleo and you are good to go.

To get started:
1. Say "Alexa, open Cleo." (Pronounced: KLEE-oh)
2. Alexa will describe how the skill works and ask you for the language you speak. Say the name of your language in English (e.g. 'Kannada' or 'Tamil' or 'Hindi').
3. Alexa will ask you to confirm the language and will move into the first learning round.
4. During each round, Alexa will ask you to say at least five things in your language. Wait for her to prompt you and then go ahead and respond in the language you specified. She may ask you to say something specific or to just say anything at all. The type of round will differ each time you play.
5. Aim to speak as naturally as possible in your language. It's better to say something naturally than to translate.
6. To close Cleo during a learning round, just say "Alexa, stop."
7. Want to see how you stack up against the competition? Just say, "Alexa, ask Cleo how am I doing?" Play Cleo often to earn badges and climb up the ranks!

Sample Interaction:
User: Alexa open Cleo.
Alexa: Welcome back! Would you like to continue teaching me Hindi?
User: Yes.
Alexa: OK, think of a city where they speak Hindi. Ask me for the weather there.
User: Delhi mein Mausam kaisa hai?
Alexa: Ask me for the time.
User: Kitna baj raha hai?
Alexa: Think of your favorite Hindi song. Ask me to play it.
User: Kala chashma sunaoo.
Alexa: Think of an actor. Ask me when they were born.
User: Amitabh Bachchan ka janm kab hua tha?
Alexa: Think of a store where you shop. Ask me when it opens.
User: Mantri Mall kitne baje khulta hai?
Alexa: Thanks! Would you like to do another round?
User: Yes!

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