In its latest update, Amazon has added hands-free activation to its Alexa app for iOS and Android. With the new upgrade, users have the option to say “Alexa” aloud instead of pressing the button before pressing the button within the app prior to giving a command or asking a question to Alexa.
According to Amazon, users have the option to enable or disable the hands-free “wake word” feature aside from the option to switch on or off the feature. When it comes to voice assistants, default settings and user choice are hot-button issues due to possible privacy concerns.
How The Updated App Will Work?
The hands-free activation feature will become available in the coming days for iOS and Android devices. It needs to be downloaded or updated on their phones and tablets. Unlike Google Assistant and Siri, which is embedded in the platforms, the hands-free activation will only work when Alexa is active. Google Assistant and Siri can be called upon from the lock screen or when other apps are active.
Once updated, customers will know that Alexa is activated and listening when an “animated blue bar” appears at the bottom of the screen. From there, users can set reminders, play music, adjust their thermostat, or answer questions like “What’s the weather today?”
Extending Alexa’s Capabilities
The Alexa update is the latest in a series of more significant upgrades designed to expand the app’s capabilities. In recent years, it has collaborated with carmakers, gas stations, and providers of connected car technology to make Alexa available to more drivers. After updating Alexa’s privacy control to address reports that employees were listening to recordings of people as part of Alexa’s voice recognition.
Last year, Amazon launched over a dozen voice-powered devices like smart glasses, an oven, an in-home motion sensor, and a high-quality smart speaker. The app had also been previously integrated into Amazon’s other apps, like in its flagship shopping app as well as in Amazon Music. In the latter, a hands-free Alexa was rolled out to allow users to control playback or request for music without the need to tap a button.
However, until now, Alexa has remained a tap-to-talk experience, which doesn’t mesh well with how the app works in other devices such as the Amazon Echo speakers and screens.
Amazon will be gradually rolling out the feature to users worldwide in the coming days so they won’t see the option right away.