Science

Alexa's new 'Follow-Up Mode' listens for more commands

Alexa's new 'Follow-Up Mode' listens for more commands

A lot of people have gotten used to Alexa hearing every word they're saying, but there are occasions when the smart assistant does something weird that reminds us how unusual it is to have a digital robot around all the time.

Amazon's Echo line of devices gets a new feature in the form of "follow-up" mode, which lets users spit out command after command without repeating the wake word each time. With the new mode, Alexa will listen 5 seconds after your previous request to see if you're wanting to ask another question. However you could break it up into multiple queries but not need to say the trigger word for the second command. But as they say, knowing is half the battle.

The user is not required to call out Alexa again, and if they don't say anything at all, Alexa will go back to sleep.

There are potential problems here, though.

Amazon has changed the phrase necessary to make Alexa laugh to, "Alexa, can you laugh?", which should be less likely to generate false positives. After all, until they received an update, Echo units were shown to be prone to following commands from the TV. There are some interesting kinks here that Amazon may have to iron out.




You can enable Follow-Up Mode on your device by opening the Alexa app and navigating to the Settings menu.

As CNET reports, follow-up mode is merely an option, so users don't have to worry about being forced to use it. You can notice this by the blue ring on an Echo or other Echo device staying lit up. As of now, the "follow-up" mode is available only in English and works only when Alexa is not being used for another continual activity.

On paper, follow-up mode sounds useful enough.

Amazon is planning to resolve this by disabling that phrase and replacing it with "Alexa, can you laugh?" Maybe the company is already heading in that direction.


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