Belgium and Switzerland Join List of Countries With Alexa Voice Service
Amazon has expanded Alexa Voice Service (AVS) to Belgium and Switzerland. Manufacturers certified by Amazon can now build Alexa-enabled devices with more features and localized data access. The two countries are the latest in Amazon’s recent AVS expansion spree to new countries.
AVS gives Belgian and Swiss owners of Alexa-enabled devices more features to play with using the voice assistant including more smart home device integration and hands-free communication by text or voice. The countries will also have more music streaming options like Spotify, although Amazon Music Unlimited will only be available in Belgium for now. The expansion also brings new language options to Alexa in the two countries. The voice assistant can speak French or U.S. English in Belgium, while the Swiss Alexa counts German, French, Italian, and U.S. English among the choices. Notably, the languages are those spoken in the countries the languages are named for, not the dialects spoken in Belgium and Switzerland. Still, users in both countries will have local and regional news, and weather, and informational databases as part of the experience. For instance, asking about holidays, history and culture, or sports will prompt Alexa to refer to Swiss and Belgian data automatically, without having to specifically ask about those countries by name.
“We’ve added local knowledge for Belgium and Switzerland, like local holidays, famous people and places, and more,” Amazon explained in a blog post. “For example, “Alexa, who is the President of the Swiss Confederation?”, “Alexa, wann ist das nächste Super League Spiel?”, or “Alexa, quand est la fête national?””
AVS has arrived in a broad array of countries over the last year or. The service arrived last month in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru. That rollout followed the inclusion of Poland and Sweden in March and Colombia and the Netherlands at the end of 2020 to the countries with AVS. They are all largely the same format, with the main variation being one of language or occasional differences in Amazon features. This appears to be Amazon’s preferred method for expanding Alexa’s place in the world. Before, language localization came before the information aspect. Still, this way, the Alexa users in those countries can immediately start using the third-party apps in the Alexa Skill Store, instead of needing to build up a local community of developers ahead of time. To expand the number of Alexa users in a country as quickly as possible, Amazon may have found it to be better to get the skills and features into play before localizing the language.