Amazon is adding a way to speed up or slow down the responses of its Alexa voice assistant. Starting today, you’ll be able to say “Alexa, speak slower” or “Alexa, speak faster” to cycle through seven different playback speeds. You can also say “Alexa, speak at your default rate” to return to the third-slowest speed setting.
As the Verge reports, Amazon is pitching this as an accessibility feature, with slower speeds benefiting hearing-impaired or elderly users, and faster speeds benefiting blind or vision-impaired users who are accustomed to navigating through spoken content quickly. But as we’ve seen with closed captions and voice navigation for phones, sometimes accessibility features can benefit a much broader audience. It’s not hard to imagine people speeding up Alexa because they’re impatient with the default speech rate, or slowing the voice assistant down to make it more kid-friendly.
We haven’t gotten the speed adjustments to work just yet, but they should be available later today.