Google Will Generate Custom Voices for Call Centers
Businesses using Google Cloud Contact Center AI will be able to design unique voices for their call centers and other text-to-speech services. Google’s new Custom Voice service, now in beta testing, is designed to let businesses generate a synthetic voice that can speak for the brand without having to have a voice actor or spokesperson record new lines all of the time. The synthetic voice generator is part of a group of updates to Google Cloud, including the new Dialogflow CX platform.
Google’s pitch is to have a company record their famous spokesperson or actor with the right voice record a script provided by Google. Google would then train an AI model with those recordings so that it could mimic the person from the recording saying things that were never spoken. Every update, such as one for a call center menu, could then have the same voice, without needing another recording session. Both the company and Google would need to test the model to make sure it does what the company wants while still fitting with Google’s own AI Principles. The custom voices complement the new Dialogflow Customer Experience (CX) platform for building artificial intelligence agents for enterprise-level projects. Dialogflow CX builds on Google’s existing virtual agent system, with better conversational control and the ability to handle multiple conversation topics at once. Custom Voice, however, is specifically for direct vocal interactions with customers.
“In Cloud AI, we’ve taken Google’s groundbreaking machine learning models in speech and natural language processing and applied them to the contact center space, radically improving the customer experience while also driving down operational costs,” Google explained in a blog post. “By taking advantage of the custom Text-to-Speech model created with Custom Voice, you can define and choose the voice profile that suits your business and adjust to changes without scheduling studio time with voice actors to record new phrases.”
Custom Voice Demand
The service shares a lot of similarities with Amazon’s Brand Voice feature, which offers to help companies that want a unique voice for their Alexa skills in the same way. That’s why KFC Canada’s Alexa skill now speaks in a Colonel Sanders-esque voice, while the National Australia Bank Alexa skill speaks professional-sounding Australian English. At the moment, Google’s variation is limited to American English. Though the tech giants operate at a larger scale, building custom voices from audio clips easier and cheaper than ever and smaller companies are jumping in as well. VocaliD, which began as a voice prosthesis developer, but now offers synthetic voices for call centers and voice apps. Then there are Voice cloning startups like Replica Studios and Resemble AI, which provide home tools for generating an artificial voice from recorded audio, are also crowding in. There are even specialized options like car AI developer Cerence’s new platform for people to record themselves or someone else to be the voice for the AI in their vehicle.