Alexa is now hands-free on all Windows 10 devices

Alexa windows 10
Image Credit: Amazon

The Windows 10 app for Alexa is now able to hear and act on commands without you having to lift a finger. 

As noted by The Verge, the latest version of the app on the Windows Store is now able to hear the 'wake word' (Alexa, Computer, or Echo, depending on your preference) while the app is running in the background or minimized.

Previously Windows 10 users had to hold down a button for Alexa to actively listen, making the update a step forward for convenience. However, if you'd rather Amazon's voice assistant wasn't always listening in on you, you can revert to the previous settings inside the app. 

If you're a Windows 10 user and don't want to use Alexa at all, it isn't able to hear you if the app isn't open, or simply hasn't been downloaded.

Always listening?

Amazon's voice assistant feels pretty much ubiquitous these days, having launched on its range of Amazon Echo devices and made its way to Windows 10, Xbox One, Android and more.

While the technology itself can prove hugely useful, users still have concerns with how their data is being managed, especially when they own a device that is technically always listening. 

Alexa hypothetically only records conversations after the 'wake word' is spoken, when you actually want it to pay attention. But only last month claims emerged of Amazon employees playing back recorded conversations (albeit to improve Alexa's transcription software) and being able to view users' home addresses

While users are constantly having to weigh up their privacy versus convenience, it's only a fair choice if we know exactly what's being done with our data, and why.

Henry St Leger

Henry is a freelance technology journalist, and former News & Features Editor for TechRadar, where he specialized in home entertainment gadgets such as TVs, projectors, soundbars, and smart speakers. Other bylines include Edge, T3, iMore, GamesRadar, NBC News, Healthline, and The Times.