Amazon has added a new feature for its Alexa voice assistant that will allow you to make successive requests without having to repeat the activation word of your Echo speaker, as CNET points out. Amazon calls the new configuration "tracking mode" and, while it will not allow you to enter a request in another, it will allow you to request several consecutive requests. For example, you can not ask Alexa to turn off the lights and change the temperature in the same breath, but you can make one request and follow it with the other without needing to say "Hey, Alexa" again.
Tracking mode works by allowing Alexa to continue listening for up to five seconds after an initial command. This is indicated by the blue ring on an Echo speaker or another Echo device that remains illuminated. Once the blue light fades, Alexa officially returns to sleep mode and must wake up with a phrase like "Hi, Alexa." There are some interesting problems here that Amazon may have to solve. For example, this tracking mode only works when Alexa is "sure" that the second command is not just background noise from a conversation or TV show.
It's not clear exactly how that works, but it's safe to say that this feature may not work all the time at the beginning, or it may register some false positives from a Netflix program at first until Amazon refines the tracking mode over time. . In an interesting twist, Amazon says that one way to put Alexa back to sleep by force is to use the words "thanks" or "stop" to conclude a series of commands, which may make our conversations with voice assistants digital are more pleasant. nature. There is already some debate about the best way to converse with voice-based AI software, and Amazon, Google and others have a lot of power in this regard to design the interfaces of these devices to facilitate certain user behaviors.
According to CNET, the configuration of the tracking mode is optional and is available for all devices on the Echo line, as well as for some third-party Echo devices. The tracking mode is only available in English at this time, and only works when Alexa is not used for another persistent activity, such as listening to music or an audiobook.