Alexa’s Ziggy Wake Word Arrives in UK With Extra David Bowie Features
Alexa has made its wake word Ziggy available in the United Kingdom a year after it first launched in the U.S. alongside celebrity voices Shaquille O’Neal and Melissa McCarthy. The wake word is unrelated to rock star David Bowie’s Ziggy Stardust persona, but the wake word comes with two extra commands to celebrate Bowie on the 50th anniversary of The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars albums.
Ziggy, Play Ziggy
Amazon added Ziggy as a wake word along with a new, unrelated male voice, though the additions flew under the radar compared to the movie star and basketball legend becoming voices for Alexa. Ziggy was picked as a wake word to contrast with Alexa and highlight the other end of the alphabet to suggest the voice assistant is a source of all knowledge. Users can ask Alexa to change either or both features if they choose. Having Ziggy as a wake word does offer a couple of extra bonus features. Tell the voice assistant, “Ziggy, play Ziggy,” and it will begin playing the eponymous album. If you say “Ziggy, play guitar,” however, you’ll get a funny response repurposing some of Bowie’s more famous lyrics. The timing of the wake word release with the anniversary of the albums where Bowie took on the Ziggy Stardust persona was a coincidence, but a happy one for his fans at the company.
“We are constantly looking for ways to offer our customers more choices so they can personalize their Alexa experience,” Alexa’s UK country manager Dennis Stansbury explained in a statement. “The wake word is very important as Alexa devices are specially designed to only detect the user’s chosen wake word. Our devices detect wake words by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word, so a lot of consideration goes into the selection. We chose ‘Ziggy’ not only because it performed well in testing, but because it’s fun and reflects Alexa’s wealth of knowledge on everything from A to Z. As an aside, I am a self-confessed David Bowie fan, so I am enjoying saying ‘Ziggy, play Ziggy’ and ‘Ziggy, play guitar’ to my Echo device.”