Amazon Alexa will be a better listener after this next update

Alexa is going to school for communication. Starting soon, you won’t have to constantly say Alexa’s name to get her attention during a conversation - Alexa will just keep listening and responding until you’re finished asking questions.

The idea, according to Alexa Brain’s head, Ruhi Sarikaya, is to create a ‘friction-less’ interaction with the personal assistant. Sarikaya made the announcement at a keynote presentation at the World Wide Web Conference in Lyon, France. 

In the future, that will mean Alexa will be able to continue conversations more naturally - e.g. you can ask about the weather today, the weather tomorrow and the weather next week, all without pausing the conversation to say ‘Alexa’ in between in each query. 

In addition to that, Sarikaya detailed plans to add a reminder system to Alexa so that the personal assistant can keep track of long-range reminders like birthdays, and it will better integrate skills in your conversations. (If you ask about removing a stain on your shirt, for example, Alexa might mention the Tide Stain Remover skill that walks you through the process step-by-step.)

Communication 101

These improvements will roll out to US, UK and Germany first, Sarikaya says, but refrained to give an exact date as to when we could expect the update to hit.

Despite the lack of an official launch date, these improvements should mildly excite owners of the Amazon Echo, Amazon Echo Dot and Amazon Echo Show - they will, in many ways, improve the naturalness of the conversations you have with Alexa going forward.  

This might also help Alexa catch up to Google Assistant as some of these features - like reminders - have been part of Google Assistant’s programming for some time. 

Via The Verge

Nick Pino

Nick Pino is Managing Editor, TV and AV for TechRadar's sister site, Tom's Guide. Previously, he was the Senior Editor of Home Entertainment at TechRadar, covering TVs, headphones, speakers, video games, VR and streaming devices. He's also written for GamesRadar+, Official Xbox Magazine, PC Gamer and other outlets over the last decade, and he has a degree in computer science he's not using if anyone wants it.