You can now issue multiple commands to your Echo without repeating its wake word

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

There's no denying smart speakers have become popular household gadgets. Indeed, Amazon's Echo Dot was the retail giant's most popular item over the holidays, shipping as part of the "tens of millions of Alexa-enabled devices" sold during the time period.

Though the Echo devices are popular, they aren't without their own problems and quirks. Just a few days ago, Echo users including myself noticed their devices laughing for no reason. Amazon later stated they were aware of the situation and issued a fix, attributing the strange giggling to the devices somehow hearing the "Alexa, laugh" command through background noise.

One of the other frustrations some users face, albeit a relatively minor one, has been the inconvenience associated with quickly chaining Echo voice commands. If you aren't already aware, Alexa-powered devices wait to hear their wake word before listening for and processing a command.

This means users usually need to say "Alexa" multiple times to get their device to process multiple commands. As a result, asking your Echo to turn on the lights and set the thermostat to 60 degrees can be a somewhat disjointed experience, potentially breaking the illusion that you're talking to a semi-intelligent virtual assistant.

It seems Amazon has heard those concerns loud and clear, as the company has rolled out a new "Follow-Up Mode" option. This feature allows your Echo will listen for additional commands for up to 5 extra seconds after your first command has been processed.

In addition to simplifying the process of saying multiple commands, you should now be able to tell your loyal device "thank you" if you feel so inclined. If you're concerned you'll forget the device is still listening and thus compromise your privacy, worry not - Follow-Up Mode is disabled by default and can be found within the Alexa app's "Settings" menu.

It should be noted, however, this new feature will not allow you to issue two commands at once. In our own testing, attempting to do so simply resulted in Alexa becoming confused and going back to sleep.

Permalink to story.

 

Teko03

TS Evangelist
Looks like you have to go into the device settings in the Alexa app to actually enable this mode. I'm not really a fan of the awkward chaining of commands with this feature. Follow up mode turns off fairly quick, it's like a race to tell out the next command.
 
Last edited:

bohemond1099

TS Member
Even at my most sedative I can't make myself so lazy as to use voice commands for lights and thermostat. Also; if you think your privacy is safe because of a setting, then you didn't learn much from PRISM.
 

Teko03

TS Evangelist
Even at my most sedative I can't make myself so lazy as to use voice commands for lights and thermostat. Also; if you think your privacy is safe because of a setting, then you didn't learn much from PRISM.
If you have a smart phone, privacy invasion doesn't get much worse tan that.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Kibaruk

Kibaruk

TechSpot Paladin
Looks like you have to go into the device settings in the Alexa app to actually enable this mode.
Well it is mentioned in the article.
I'm not really a fan of the awkward chaining of commands with this feature. Follow up mode turns off fairly quick, it's like a race to tell out the next command.
How long will you delay to actually give chained commands? That's like the whole idea of chaining commands together, that you don't take the additional time for the wake word and waiting for it to complete the other tasks.
 

Teko03

TS Evangelist
That's like the whole idea of chaining commands together, that you don't take the additional time for the wake word and waiting for it to complete the other tasks.
It's more so that you're waiting to confirm that the first command was understood by Alexa, and that 5 second counter is already going before you can actually do so. Being able to use "and" would be the preferred method.
 

Slappy McPhee

TS Addict
So my whole thing with this scenario would be:

Alexa, who won the world series in 1964?

alexa answers

then follow-up with

what was the score?




if it can't do that then to me it is pointless. the 5 second counter by my experience thus far hasn't been good with it. they need to tweak it.
 

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member
So my whole thing with this scenario would be:

Alexa, who won the world series in 1964?

alexa answers

then follow-up with

what was the score?




if it can't do that then to me it is pointless. the 5 second counter by my experience thus far hasn't been good with it. they need to tweak it.
I actually just tried those two commands, and at first it seemed to work - she mentioned the Cardinals, but then she mentioned the Astros, and it became clear she was talking about what I assume to be modern basketball scores - probably some recent game.

But this would be a very good idea, and certainly one of the better uses of a mode like this. Right now, I'm just using it for fun so I can say "thank you" less awkwardly, but it definitely has more potential down the line.

I believe Bixby is actually the best virtual assistant for chaining commands right now. Perhaps Amazon could learn something from Samsung there.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Slappy McPhee

Slappy McPhee

TS Addict
I actually just tried those two commands, and at first it seemed to work - she mentioned the Cardinals, but then she mentioned the Astros, and it became clear she was talking about what I assume to be modern basketball scores - probably some recent game.

But this would be a very good idea, and certainly one of the better uses of a mode like this. Right now, I'm just using it for fun so I can say "thank you" less awkwardly, but it definitely has more potential down the line.

I believe Bixby is actually the best virtual assistant for chaining commands right now. Perhaps Amazon could learn something from Samsung there.
They could take a cue from both Sammy and Google although Google's follow on need a ton of work too.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Polycount