ibusinesslines.com March 18, 2018

Is Amazon Alexa laughing at you?

12 March 2018, 04:43 | Jodi Jackson

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

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

Thankfully, Amazon has realized this issue and introduced a new feature called Follow-Up Mode, which makes Alexa listen for a couple of seconds after she has finished speaking.

The basic idea is simple, and a little bit obvious in hindsight.

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. With the update, anyone that has the Alexa app downloaded on their tablets can now set up calls, meaning you don't need to have an Echo on your shelf to take advantage of free calls and messages.

"The blue indicator light on the Echo device remains on for a few seconds, letting you know that Alexa is active and ready for your next request", Amazon explained in a support note. If you don't, she'll just go back to sleep automatically without saying anything else. One fix will involve disabling the phrase: "Alexa, laugh", and they have also changed the command to "Alexa, can you laugh?"

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

Up to now, calling via Alexa has been limited to Echo devices and smartphones. To end a "conversation" you can say something like "thank you" or "stop" while Alexa is listening for a follow-up. Alexa will not respond to follow-up requests "if she detects that speech was background noise or that the intent of the speech was not clear", Amazon wrote. It also won't activate while you're listening to music, streaming an audiobook or making an Alexa call. Amazon acknowledged on Wednesday that some of its Alexa-enabled devices have developed a new skill: creeping out their owners with unexpected and unwarranted bursts of robotic laughter.

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