Not Now, Alexa! Amazon Improves Wake Word Accuracy

Posted May 17, 2017

Granted, there are not many words we can think of that can be confused with "Alexa", but there are certain phrases that might trip up devices.

The skit, starring Kenan and Kel alumni Kenan Thompson and Ghostbusters star Kate McKinnon, introduces the Amazon Echo Silver; "the only smart speaker to be designed exclusively by the greatest generation". They also allow you to control your smart home devices through the Echo, including lighting systems, camera-enabled doorbells, and smart thermostats.

This functionality will require developers to use new tools that Amazon announced on Tuesday, including the Alexa Voice Service and Alexa Skills Kit, which will be available soon. In a blog post on its site for developers, the company said that "in the coming months" AccuWeather, the Post and others will deploy the feature, and Amazon will use customer feedback to tweak it before letting all software makers incorporate it into their apps. "Users can simply ask, 'Alexa, what did I miss?" or 'Alexa, what are my notifications?' and Alexa will inform users of the latest breaking news". When there's an alert, the Echo device will issue a chime accompanied by a pulsing green light.

Say my name Amazon is launching a new back-door feature that will try to ensure Alexa wakes when you say her name-and not by accident. That means developers will have to design an experience that doesn't overwhelm users who are away from the Echo for hours at a time, while still being useful to those who are constantly around it.