Chatting with Alexa could soon feel even more natural as Amazon starts rolling out the voice assistant's Conversation Mode. The feature, which the company at its fall 2020 hardware event, allows a group of people to have back-and-forth communication with Alexa without having to say the wake word multiple times.
Conversation Mode is debuting on the third-gen Echo Show 10, and Amazon is rolling it out over the next few weeks. It's an opt-in feature, and you can switch it on by saying "Alexa, join this conversation." Anyone in the room will be able to speak with the voice assistant, as long as they're looking at the screen and the smart display's camera can see them.
Saying "leave this conversation," or turning off the mic or camera will end Conversation Mode. Alexa will also switch it off if there's no interaction for a certain length of time.
There are visual indicators to show when Conversation Mode is active. You'll see a blue border around the screen and a light blue bar at the bottom when Echo Show 10 is sending your requests to the cloud. No videos or images are uploaded, and you'll be able to review and delete voice recordings through the Alexa app.
Amazon that Conversation Mode's AI uses visual and acoustic cues to determine when someone is saying something to Echo Show 10. Alexa then formulates a response based on the context. The company is planning to improve the mode over time and add features such as the ability to interrupt a list of options by saying something like “That one!”
The feature builds on features Amazon added to make Alexa sound more like a real person, including taking breaths, changing the tone of voice and stressing certain words. In Conversation Mode, Alexa will pause when it's interrupted.
Google Assistant has had a similar feature, Continued Conversation, . Apple has reportedly been working on a way to allow people to have back-and-forth conversations with Siri .