Amazon is helping Alexa make sure you actually asked for her – CNET


The Ecobee4 smart thermostat (left, with the Amazon Echo Dot) will be the first product to take advantage of Amazon’s new wake word verification.

Chris Monroe/CNET

“Hey Anita… hold on I need to mute Alexa.”

The Alexa voice assistant is coming to all kinds of devices this year, and Amazon is hoping that this army of always-listening electronics only wakes up when you ask them.

Amazon announced its Cloud-Based Wake Word Verification feature Monday for third-party Alexa devices, which runs an extra check after the assistant starts listening to make sure someone really said Alexa and not Allegra (because allergies happen). While Alexa will still perk up when it thinks you summoned it, it will immediately close the audio stream and turn off the LED indicator should the secondary check fail.

A similar feature is already included on Amazon’s own Echo speakers using a combination of device- and cloud-based technologies, a spokesperson told CNET.

Amazon said that the first device to get this feature is the Ecobee4 smart thermostat. Other developers will be able to add the feature into their device with a few tweaks, Amazon said in its announcement.

The announcement comes as Amazon is rolling out a new line of Echo devices with the fashion-centric Echo Look and the touchscreen-equipped Echo Show.

Update 12:31 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Amazon.

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