March 23, 2018

Alexa's new Follow-Up Mode can handle back-to-back requests

12 March 2018, 04:45 | Brandon Parsons

Amazon To Issue Fix for Alexa's Creepy Laughs and Occasional Refusal To Follow Commands

Amazon updates Alexa so you don't have to say 'Alexa' repeatedly

The basic idea is simple, and obvious in hindsight. Instead of having to repeatedly say "Hey Alexa" for every question, 'Follow-up Mode' will have the digital assistant continue to listen for a few seconds after an initial question.

If you want Amazon's Alexa digital assistant to do something for you all you need to do is say "Hey, Alexa" and it will wake up and start listening for a command. The blue ring on your Alexa device of choice will light up during these five seconds to indicate that she's listening.

Amazon's Alexa devices include the $49.99 Echo Dot, to the $99.99 Echo, and the $229.99 Echo Show. If you have anything else to ask her, you can just ask it without needing to say her name first.

Meanwhile, Amazon also explained that the random laughs might have been caused by coincidental phrases that Alexa hears and processes as commands.

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There were even claims that when a user told Alexa to turn off the lights, the AI assistant "refused" to and laughed while doing the opposite. Just head to the Settings page of the app, select the device you want to configure, find Follow-Up Mode and tap the toggle to switch it on.

Up to now, calling via Alexa has been limited to Echo devices and smartphones. This means that the user will have to clearly issue the command because if they don't, Alexa probably won't separate it from the background noise.

Amazon noted that this feature will not work when music, books, or other audio is playing; when you end a conversation with Alexa by saying "stop", "cancel", "go to sleep", or "thank you;" or when "Alexa is not confident you're speaking to her". Obviously you can't make a video call to a regular Echo, but that should be obvious seeing as how it doesn't have a camera.

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