New Follow-Up Mode keeps Alexa active for, well, follow up questions

Amazon says it's aware that some Echo devices are creepily laughing at people and it's working on a fix

Amazon is calling the new feature "follow-up mode", and while it will not let you nest one request into another, the mode will let you ask multiple times back to back. If you're one that asks Alexa a lot of questions, you're used to invoking her the old fashioned way with an "Alexa" callout first and foremost. Being the noble and loyal house companion that she is, Alexa complied and sent out the creepy burst of laughter that's freaked out so many Echo and Alexa-enabled devices.

Amazon told "The Verge" that the investigation was launched after users shared a video on social media showing Alexa emitting random laughter. It is often annoying while using digital assistants that you have to speak a particular "wake" word after every request, such as "Hey Siri" in the HomePod, "Ok Google" in Google Home, or "Alexa" in Amazon speakers. "We are changing that phrase to be 'Alexa, can you laugh?' which is less likely to have false positives, and we are disabling the short utterance 'Alexa, laugh.'" In addition to this, Amazon also adds, "We are also changing Alexa's response from simply laughter to 'Sure, I can laugh" followed by laughter".

Reliability of this follow-up mode will be something that remains to be seen, as Alexa is not without her quirks. Go to settings, find the device you want to activate it on then toggle the slider for follow-up mode.

Go to Alexa on the web.

Amazon warns that the feature will not work when your Echo device is playing music, books, or you're on a call through the device.

In a statement, Amazon said: "In rare circumstances, Alexa can mistakenly hear the phrase 'Alexa, laugh'".

Follow-up mode is available in US English only and appears to be available on the entire range of Alexa devices.

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