The new update will do away with the old method of having to tap a button on the phone to launch the app before it would begin taking requests. Now, Alexa users will be able to call up the app with Siri or Google Assistant, then speak with Alexa like normal, requesting to turn on music or set the temperature to a certain level, TechCrunch reported.
Once the wake word has been detected, an animated blue line signifies that Alexa has woken up and is ready to go, streaming requests to the cloud.
Amazon said the new feature will only work when the phone is unlocked and the Alexa app is open on the screen, and it won’t work at all if the phone is closed or the app hasn’t been activated, according to TechCrunch. The company said this new feature will be rolled out over the next several days. To use the new Alexa feature, users will have to update the Alexa app to the latest version.
The pandemic has boosted interest in voice-assisted commerce, which has thus far not been a huge part of the market — as PYMNTS reported, people aren’t as keen to ask Alexa to make a purchase for them as they would be to ask it to turn on a song.
But with the pandemic’s necessity of people staying inside and not wanting to touch surfaces for fear of catching the coronavirus, reports have emerged already of hotels and cruise ships making use of voice controls to help customers feel more secure.
In addition, voice controls could be coming more to grocery stores with a recent partnership between Google and French grocery chain Carrefour. Using that technology, shoppers would be able to link their Google and Carrefour accounts and add items to a shopping list just by saying the name out loud.