The most annoying thing about digital assistants is that you have to say a trigger word after every request, with few exceptions. Whether it be “Hey Siri”, “Ok Google”, or “Alexa”, it can become increasingly tiresome, especially if you’re trying to have a fluid conversation.
According to CNET, Amazon is adding a new “Follow-up Mode” to its Alexa assistant today, which brings the ability to ask it questions without repeating the trigger 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. The blue ring on your Echo will remain lit to indicate that she’s still listening. In this time period, you can ask her another question, otherwise she’ll go back in to sleep mode.
While this is a step in the right direction, it does not mean that Alexa will be able to answer multiple queries at once. For example, you can’t say, “Alexa, turn off the lights and lock the front door.” However you could break it up into multiple queries but not need to say the trigger word for the second command.
The report says that Alexa will only respond if it is “confident” that you’re asking another question and that it’s not just background noise. Amazon also notes that you can stop the listening sooner by saying “stop” or “thank you”.
The feature can be enabled by heading to Settings > (device name) > Follow-up Mode. The feature is off by default. Follow-up Mode is available on all Amazon Echo devices, and in select third-party Alexa devices. It currently only supports English. Hopefully, Apple will announce a similar feature for HomePod, even if it’s delayed.
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