Amazon Tests New Alexa Mode that Makes It Shut Up, Mostly
AFP 2018/ LEON NEALTech01:52 18.03.2018Get short URL103
Amazon introduced a new “Brief Mode” that makes Alexa talk less. Not all smart home users get this feature now, though.
Some Amazon smart home users find Alexa, the company’s “intelligent personal assistant” a bit too chatty — or incredibly annoying — because, like an ex always getting in the last word, the system confirms every single command with a voice response.
For those annoyed with constant “okays,” Amazon introduced a “Brief Mode” that replaces most responses with a short beep. The feature appears to be in a test phase, as not all users find this setting available, Mashable reports.
Curiously, first mentions of the new feature on an internet-of-things device reportedly come from Reddit users who spotted the new feature.
“I just asked Alexa to turn on my lights, she said ‘OK’ just like normal, but after that, she said that this would be the last time she would, and that I would hear a beep tone instead on a successful command,” one Reddit user wrote.
Amazon did not make an announcement or provide a comment on the update.
Replacing vocal confirmations of successful commands with beeps appears to be the only change. The Verge, however, speculates that this idea could be extended so that Alexa stops speaking a lot of excessive words, like “You have one timer with x number of minutes remaining,” making interaction with the assistant more natural.
Apparently, there is no shortage of ideas on how to improve Alexa. AndroidAuthority.com, for example, suggests that complete silence might be more preferable than a beep. We, on other hand, may suggest adding selectable and customizable sound profiles, similar to what is implemented by Android phones.
This new update comes just one week after Amazon taught Alexa to understand follow-up commands, so that users don’t need to utter a wake word for every single command.
Last week, Alexa users were terrified when some units started emitting unnerving laughter-like noises. Whether or not that widespread glitch was a factor in adding the Brief Mode is unknown, but the timing certainly makes it seem that way, Android Authority speculates.