Amazon improves Alexa wake word verification

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Amazon on Monday announced a new feature that improves wake-word accuracy on Alexa-powered gadgets.

Amazon Alexa-enabled device like the Echo will soon be able to deliver news, weather, or health-related alerts with notifications from their Echo smart speaker.

If you own an Amazon Alexa-equipped device, like an Echo, you know that the device is only reactive in that it doesn't do much unless you ask it to. The problem is much worse with third-party devices which incorporate Alexa, but Amazon has introduced technology called Cloud-Based Wake Word Verification to make wake word detection much more accurate for these devices.

Amazon has the feature set up so that it won't slow down Alexa's response time.

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The announcement was targeted at developers who make skills for Alexa and includes instructions for how developers can modify their apps to be ready for users. They won't receive any notifications from skills that they've not allowed to send them notifications.

With the new update, users will be able to opt-in to notifications for each skill using the Alexa app, and they will be notified by a chime and pulsing green light, similar to Blackberry-style LED notifications.

Notifications will be opt-in, so don't worry about your Echo devices all of a sudden buzzing at you with unwanted info. Users will then be able to ask questions like "Alexa, what did I miss?" or "Alexa, what are my notifications?"

It will be interesting to see how developers use this feature in the future. Amazon has a list of all available Alexa skills on its website.