If you own an Amazon Echo or Amazon Echo Dot, at some point your device has overheard something you’ve said, mistaken it for the word “Alexa” and given you a wacky response to a question you never asked. It’s a weird, but somewhat ubiquitous experience for most Echo owners.
If this only happen to you once in a blue moon, however, consider yourself lucky. For anyone who owns a third-party Echo device – like say this is much more frequent occurrence ... or at least it was.
Starting today, Amazon is making the same algorithm the Echo and Echo Dot use available to third-party hardware makers that will make it so these devices will only respond to the word “Alexa”.
Here’s how it works: Alexa will start listening any time it thinks it hears its name, but it won’t formally process and respond to the request until the device checks in with cloud voice recognition software that it actually heard “Alexa” and not something that sounds like it.
According to Amazon, the process is almost instantaneous and it shouldn’t slow down or delay Alexa’s response time in any way.
Say what now?
In more or less words, devices like the Triby Bluetooth speaker (a device that comes with Amazon’s Alexa built-in) will no longer mistake words for “Alexa”.
That will mean less frustration for everyone and fewer times you get a weird, unsettling response from Alexa for a question you didn’t ask.
If this story sounds like it has the perfect makings for a comedy segment, you’re right. Too bad Saturday Night Live beat us all to the punch:
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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.