Amazon has added yet another tweak to its Alexa personal assistant devices. In addition to enhancing the overall experience with sounds, Amazon has added a "follow-up mode" so that you do not have to repeat the "Alexa" hot-word before asking for the next action.
The concept is straightforward. When a request is made and the associated action completed, the blue light on your device will stay lit for five seconds to indicate Alexa is still listening. If you have something else for her to do, ask without saying her name again first. If you do not say anything within a 5-second window, Alexa returns to sleep.
This new feature does not mean Alexa can handle successive commands all strung together with and in between them. What it means is that you can give her commands in sequence, waiting for Alexa to respond "OK" after each one. To end the conversation and be sure it has ended, you can still end the interaction with a "stop" or "thank-you".
The new mode is enabled through the Alexa app. Go to settings, find the device you want to activate it on then toggle the slider for follow-up mode.
Follow-up mode will not activate if you are talking to someone using the call feature, listening to your favourite songs, or enjoying an audiobook.
Reliability of this follow-up mode will be something that remains to be seen, as Alexa is not without her quirks. Presumably, Alexa is smart enough to analyze background noise and discard false requests for follow-up actions. Amazon does seem to eventually figure out things that are not working and make improvements quickly.
Follow-up mode is available in US English only and appears to be available on the entire range of Alexa devices.