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Amazon's Alexa. (Reuters)
Amazon's Alexa. (Reuters)

Amazon’s Alexa can now ask questions for clarification and understand conversations

  • In the new mode though, Alexa will be able to differentiate between people talking between themselves or when they are addressing the assistant
  • While Amazon’s demo during its virtual event does look interesting, how it works in practical situations is yet to be found

Technology giant Amazon announced a bunch of updates to its Alexa voice assistant today, which are meant to make the assistant smarter. The new updates make the assistant better at responding to multiple people, smarter in terms of general usability and are meant to make it more natural to use.

According to Amazon, the new “join my conversation" feature allows users to keep talking giving commands to Alexa. Essentially, this is an extension of the follow up mode Amazon had introduced earlier, which allowed users to give consecutive commands to the assistant without using the wake word.

In the new mode though, Alexa will be able to differentiate between people talking between themselves or when they are addressing the assistant. While Amazon’s demo during its virtual event does look interesting, how it works in practical situations is yet to be found.

Further, the company is also making Alexa sound less robotic with the new update. This gives the assistant a more conversational and human-like tone.

Lastly, users will be able to set modes for their smart home products, like a certain brightness setting for a smart light, without using the Alexa app. So, if you tell the assistant to set the light to “vacation mode" and such a mode hasn’t been set in advance, Alexa will ask you what you mean. You can then say what level of brightness vacation mode should be, and it will record that as a mode that can be used for future.

The company hasn’t clarified how many of these features will be available in India at the moment. It seems unlikely that the join the conversation feature will work in India right now, given the limited number of services the company allows on Alexa anyway.

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