Amazon is rolling out a new Alexa feature for Echo speakers that intelligently reduces the voice assistant’s volume when you whisper a command. The new ‘whisper mode’ feature should prevent unexpectedly loud responses in quiet situations and instead use a gentler voice.
Gone are the days of waking up your spouse or partner to ask Alexa for the weather in the morning or turn your alarm off. Whisper Mode is a new feature that allows you to whisper to Alexa, and she will whisper her response back to you.
TechCrunch says whisper mode is rolling out to Echo customers in the United States starting today. When the feature is rolled out to you, it can be enabled using voice or the Alexa app:
- Whisper is an account setting, so it needs to be turned on in the Alexa App under Settings → Alexa Account → Alexa Voice Responses → Whispered Responses.
- Whisper Mode can also be enabled by voice, simply by saying “Alexa, turn on whisper mode.”
If Alexa whisper mode works as advertised, hopefully it will inspire Siri to learn a similar trick. Like Echo smart speakers, Apple’s HomePod faces a similar challenge of unnaturally loud responses in quiet situations if the speaker volume is cranked up too loud.
Amazon has also published an overview of its technique for powering Alexa whisper mode.
I think whispering can be noisier in some cases. Sort of a raspy smoker’s voice. pic.twitter.com/krrJTGCn74
— Zac Hall (@apollozac) October 18, 2018
Amazon recently updated its Echo family of speakers with a redesigned Echo Dot and Echo Plus — both inspired by the HomePod design. Whisper mode is limited to U.S. English for now and only rolling out in the United States.