Amazon has added a new feature for Alexa, its voice assistant that will let you make successive requests to the digital assistant without needing to repeat your Echo speaker’s wake word, as noted by CNET.
Amazon is calling the new feature “follow-up mode,” and while it will not let you nest one request into another, the mode will let you ask multiple times back to back. For example, you won’t be able to ask Alexa to turn your lights off and change the temperature of your house in the same sentence, but you can make one request and then follow it up with another one without needing to say “Alexa” again.
So how does it work exactly? Follow-up mode works by allowing ALexa to continue listening for up to give seconds after an initial command is made. You can notice this by the blue ring on an Echo or other Echo device staying lit up. Once the light starts to fade, Alexa is officially go back to sleep mode and must be woken up again with “Hey, Alexa,” or whatever work you decide to set as your custom wake word or phrase. Though, there are some things Amazon needs to work on. For example, this follow-up mode will only work when Alexa is “confident” that the second command is not just background noise from a nearby TV or conversation.
It’s not entirely clear at this time how that works, but it’s safe to say that this feature may not work all the time, at least not until Amazon continues to fine tune it. Amazon adds that one way to force Alex aback into sleep more is to use the words “thank you” or “stop” to end the strong of commands.
CNET says that the follow-up mode setting is opt-in and is available for all device in the Echo lineup, as well as some third-party Echo devices. Currently, follow-up mode is only available in English, and will only work when Alexa isn’t being used for another persistent activity such as listening to an audiobook or music.