Amazon wants users to ask 'follow-up' questions, announces new feature for Alexa

  • Amazon wants users to ask 'follow-up' questions, announces new feature for Alexa

Amazon wants users to ask 'follow-up' questions, announces new feature for Alexa

Only available in US English and on Amazon Echo devices for now, Follow-Up Mode can be switched on via the Alexa smartphone app.

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

Amazon restricted use of the Alexa app to smartphones at launch, but now that tablets can make use of the feature too, it's even easier to call friends and family or Drop In on relatives to see how they're doing. The mode won't listen to just anything that's said though, but will instead look out for things that it thinks it's being asked. If you want to ask a follow-up question or issue a second command, the assistant will hear you without you having to call out her name. The blue ring on your Alexa device of choice will light up during these 5 seconds to indicate that she's listening.

One fix will involve disabling the phrase: "Alexa, laugh", and they have also changed the command to "Alexa, can you laugh?" The company suggested in an email that the laughs had occurred "in rare circumstances" because the speaker was picking up a "false positive" for the command "Alexa, laugh". This was the same reason why one of Amazon's solutions was to scrap the "Alexa, laugh" prompt and replace it with the more specific "Alexa, can you laugh?" phrase.

Amazon has updated its Alexa personal assistant with a new Follow-Up Mode that can handle back-to-back requests without requiring users to repeat the wake word, reports CNET. Amazon also notes that you can end the "conversation" in relatively normal fashion by saying something like "thank you", or "stop", while she's listening for a follow-up. At the very least it'll cut down the amount of times you have to say "Alexa" in any given day. It also won't activate while you're listening to music, streaming an audiobook or making an Alexa call.